Des Moines Recreational River and Greenbelt, Iowa (Recreation)

Rock Island District
Published Oct. 1, 2021
Fort Dodge Greenbelt Trail

Fort Dodge Greenbelt Trail


From Fort Dodge to Pella, Iowa


The Des Moines Recreational River & Greenbelt is a partnership of local and federal governments and private interests dedicated to developing ecosystem improvements and recreational opportunities in the Des Moines River corridor. Projects are submitted and approved through the Greenbelt Advisory Committee which is composed of appointed members from the State, County and Municipalities within the Greenbelt boundary.


Federal funds were appropriated to the Greenbelt Program from FY 2003 through FY 2010 and a total of 18 projects were completed. Additional funding was received in FY 2017 and will be used to complete construction of 3 projects.

Three projects were funded with the FY 2017 allocation.  All three projects have been completed with the last one completed in FY 2021; they are:

Des Moines Riverwalk - The City of Des Moines and The Principal Financial Group developed a Des Moines Riverwalk Master Plan that includes a 1.2 mile multipurpose trail loop with more than 2 miles of connecting trails, bridges, parks, promenades and related facilities. Construction of Stage I was completed in 2013 at a cost of $16,654,000 excluding land and in kind services provided by the City. The remaining construction contract for Stage II was awarded for $915,503. The cost-share for this project is 50/50 with the sponsor providing all of their cost-share contributions through Work-In-Kind. Construction began in 2017 and completed in 2018. The work was incorporated into the existing construction of the Des Moines and Raccoon River Downtown Closures. The Riverwalk facilities increase interaction with the river and create opportunities to connect adjacent development, neighborhoods and other trail systems and venues.  This project construction was completed in FY 2019.

Fort Dodge Riverfront - Fort Dodge's Riverfront Master Plan calls for the transformation of a former industrial area into a recreational development, which includes multiple use trails, fishing and boating facilities and other recreation amenities. The Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) was executed on 03 Jan 2012 and the planning, design and construction for these facilities is being conducted at a 50/50 cost-share with the City of Fort Dodge. WRRDA 2014 contained a technical correction to the legal description of the Greenbelt boundary which allows for the complete construction of Stage II. Construction of Stage I was complete in August 2013 at a cost of $3,100,000. Construction of Stage II is for 1.25 miles of trail and other recreational features.  The contract was awarded in August 2018 in the amount of $3,516,080.  The project construction was completed in first quarter of FY 2021.

Red Rock Volksweg Trail Segment 4B - This four-mile-long trail segment connects the North Overlook Campground and the City of Pella with the Cordova Park area. The contract was awarded for $3,954,950 and was completed in FY 2020. This project is located on federal property and is 100% federal costs. Greenbelt Program authorizing language says that all projects occurring on federal property will be constructed at 100% federal expense. Construction was completed on approximately 1.25 miles or about 30 percent of the Red Rock 4B Trail in Spring 2014 when it was constructed by the private developer on federal land, as mitigation, for the hydropower generating station at the Lake

Red Rock Dam and is an excellent example of public private partnering and teamwork, to accomplish the overall goals of the Greenbelt Program.

The Greenbelt Advisory Committee met in 2018 and 2019 and confirmed two additional projects for development on the current list of identified projects.  The projects awaiting funding are:

Marion County Cordova Trail Segment - The Marion County Conservation Board operates Cordova Park. Proposed components of the project include a trail segment to connect the completed Volksweg 4B trail segment to State Hwy 14.  Other feature would include trail spurs across County Hwy G-28 connecting Roberts Creek Campground to the Volkweg trail system. All of these facilities are to be located on Federal lands. Preparation of an Engineering Documentation Report (EDR) with construction cost estimate will begin when additional funding is received.

Fort Dodge Riverfront Phase II - Webster County would be the sponsor for this project. Proposed project would extend the trail system from the end of the Fort Dodge Stage II trail to point near US Hwy 20.  This project would be cost-shared with Webster County 50/50. Preparation of an EDR with construction cost estimate will begin when additional funding is received.

CG - Construction General
Public Law 99-88, Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1985, Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of Conference accompanying the Conference Report for H.R. 2577; Sec. 203 of the Flood Control Act of 1958 as modified by Sec. 111 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) 1976; Sec. 102 of PL 99-500; Sec. 604 of WRDA 1986; Sec. 122 of PL 108-7; Sec. 14221, FCE&E Act 2008; Sec. 115, PL 111-85 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 2010; and Sec. 4013, PL 113-121 WRRDA 2014

Additional Information

Summarized Project Costs

Estimated Federal Cost

$ 89,606,245

Estimated Non-Federal Cost

$ 48,249,516

Estimated Total Project Cost

$ 137,855,761

Allocations Prior to FY 2022

$ 52,082,460

FY 2021 Allocation

$ 0

FY 2022 Allocation


FY 2022 President’s Budget

$ 0

FY 2022 Total Capability



Major Work Items Prior Fiscal Year

FY 2021:  The program completed fiscal closeout on the Des Moines Riverwalk and completed construction on Fort Dodge Riverfront Trail.

Major Work Items Current Year

FY 2022:  The program will continue with Red Rock Volksweg Trail Segment 4B, completing project closeout. We will also complete project closeout on the Fort Dodge Riverfront Trail. If additional funding is received, we will begin Marion County Cordova Trail Segment and Fort Dodge Riverfront Phase II planning and Engineering Documentation Report.