Lower Fourmile Creek is located in the bottom one-third of the Fourmile Creek Watershed, which encompasses 76,000 acres of south-central Iowa. The Lower Fourmile Creek Greenway Master Plan is one of the first steps to implementing the vision set forth by the Fourmile Creek Watershed Management Plan. It addresses critical greenway components and identifies the potential recreational and educational amenities a greenway system can provide.
Greenways are an integral community component with numerous benefits:
Thoughtful consideration of multiple elements and stakeholder input are essential to plan and implement a greenway system. During a public open house in April 2014, we gathered community input about the future of Fourmile Creek that helped shape the plan’s objectives.
Greenway Master Plan Objectives
Representatives from Polk County, the Polk County Conservation Board, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, the City of Des Moines, and the City of Pleasant Hill formed a stakeholder committee that provided guidance throughout the master planning process.
A site analysis and needs assessment helped guide the decision-making process for greenway needs and boundaries. It included an inventory of existing site conditions, along with a review of the past and current planning efforts of nearby communities. This helped identify how a greenway system can help guide commercial growth and serve as an asset for local businesses while achieving the main objectives of flood hazard mitigation and water quality improvement.
Site Analysis Highlights
Based on the information gathered during the needs analysis and inventory stage, four categories of potential improvements and master plan components were identified. Each category contains specific tasks and initiatives.
Adoption of the Lower Fourmile Creek Greenway Master Plan was the first step to implementation. The City of Pleasant Hill, City of Des Moines, and the Polk County Conservation Board have adopted the plan. However, full implementation is part of a long-term strategy that may take decades to accomplish. Key steps and responsibilities of this ongoing process are divided into three parts:
Master Plan Development & Property Acquisitions
Phasing and prioritization of various greenway segments and the ultimate build out. The plan outlines 46-miles of potential trail improvements and 1,696-acres of land set aside for public use and flood hazard mitigation. It also describes methodology and guidelines for property acquisition, design, engineering, and construction priorities.
Maintenance & Operations
An overview of administrative, maintenance, and coordination tools. To best implement the greenway, all project partners will be responsible for some level of services, resources, and funding.
This section provides a summary of the overall plan recommendations and highlights the key implementing partners, potential funding strategies, action type, and timeline for completion.
Due to the scale and complex amount of GIS (Geographic Information System) based data compiled from previous studies and for this master planning process, we used a web-based Esri Story Map application to communicate master plan details. This user-friendly application allowed us to combine detailed mapping with images, narrative text, video, and web links to engage users on multiple levels.
The story map is accessible to the public from multiple websites, including local city and county websites. However, the primary location is the Fourmile Creek Watershed website managed by Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, the greenway coordinator. The map will be updated as progress is made in the greenway corridor, providing an ongoing resource of information easily accessible to the public.
Explore the Greenway Master Plan
Projects leading up to the creation of the Greenway Master Plan included: