West Des Moines Boathouse

West Des Moines, Iowa
  • Client
    City of West Des Moines
  • SQ. FT.
  • Budget
  • Market
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The Raccoon River Park Boathouse opened in summer 2020, and offers areas for bicycle and boat rentals, including canoes, kayaks, paddle-boats and stand-up paddle-boards, as well as indoor restrooms and light concessions. The non-motorized boats can be used on the park’s 232-acre Blue Heron Lake and nearby Raccoon River.

The project serves as a central hub, offering both a connection to the growing water trail network of Central Iowa and rent-able storage for canoe and kayak owners in the area. The design incorporates a flood-ready lower level designed with resilient materials and systems. The park has had significant flooding in the past and this is an aspect that was considered a high priority.

The $2.4 million boat house is located at the front entrance of Raccoon River Park, 2500 Grand Ave., near the existing boat ramp. A portion of the project was paid for with funds generated from the 1-cent sales tax passed last year. Raccoon River Park is West Des Moines’ biggest with 632 acres of parkland, including a swimming beach, fishing pier, playground, archery facility, dog park, softball complex, ice rink and a trail.

The Boathouse is part of West Des Moines’ Five Waters Project. The plan includes five signature projects that will transform the way we interact with our waterways.

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