DES MOINES, Iowa — Three years ago, Polk County Conservation had an ambitious today: to create "the most universally designed, accessible park in the country."
Now, their plan is becoming a reality. The Athene North Shore Recreation Area is fully funded, with plans to begin construction in the fall.
“We are laser focused on drawing all people to enjoy nature and recreate outdoors,” said Kami Rankin, deputy director of Polk County Conservation, in a press release. “When people feel safe and secure they are more likely to do just that - explore. With this project we are creating a safer, more welcoming space for people of all abilities.”
Located on the north shore of Easter Lake Park, the new recreation area will feature adaptive recreation equipment, extra-wide sidewalks for wheelchair users, zero-entry ramps to allow those with limited mobility to reach the water and a de-escalation room for individuals with sensory issues.
Although the capital campaign for the project as over, donations for the project continue to be accepted through the Great Outdoors Foundation.
A grand opening of the recreation area is planned for spring 2024.