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Creating an Urban-style Greenspace

A waterfall feature at the heart of the park creates a welcoming, tranquil environment in downtown Marshalltown. Photo Credit: Marshalltown Convention & Visitors Bureau

The corner of Main and Second Avenue in Marshalltown, Iowa has been transformed from a vacant, undeveloped lot into an attractive, urban-style greenspace known as Gallery Garden Park. With a focus on innovative, green design solutions, Gallery Garden Park serves as a welcoming and educational outdoor space.

Noteworthy design elements that add to the visual interest of this multi-level plaza include:

  • LiveWall vertical garden and public art on the east side of the Kibbey Building
  • Elevated planters along the perimeter featuring colorful plants in amended soils to provide color and texture while increasing infiltration
  • Suken lower plaza with an evaporation pool
  • Upper plaza with an elevated water feature that uses stormwater captured on-site
  • Canopy trees to help filter shade, reduce heat, and cleanse the air
  • Steel pergola that supports overhead solar panels and conveys water to hanging flower baskets and elevated planters while providing shade
  • Tables and seating
  • Interpretive signage detailing sustainable park infrastructure components

Project Grant Prompted by Green Infrastructure

The project modified an existing parking lot to provide proper stormwater drainage and help protect existing buildings located nearby that were damaged by stormwater in the past. Stormwater is now collected and routed into an underground cistern where it is held for irrigating park plants and filling the fountain and evaporation pool. Solar panels located on top of the pergola convert sunlight into power for electrical improvements on-site. Permeable pavements and amended soils promote water movement, infiltration, and purification.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony for Gallery Garden Park. Photo Credit: Mike Donahey

Based on the master plan design, the project received an Iowa Economic Development Authority grant for the implementation of these green infrastructure elements.

Snyder & Associates prepared the park master plan and provided landscape architecture and civil engineering services. Project construction began in 2016 and was completed in 2017.

While the park is part of a private endeavor, it’s open to the public at no cost.

I am so proud of this project and the attraction it has become for our community. Thank you for your dedication to this project. 

- Val Ruff
Executive Director, Marshalltown Convention & Visitors Bureau