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Des Moines’ Nollen Plaza Project moves forward as design is unveiled

Published: Friday, May 10, 2013 12:03 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, May 10, 2013 12:29 p.m. CST
(Graphic: Des Moines Civic Center)
This architectural rendering shows the improvement plan slated for Nollen Plaza in downtown Des Moines. Highlights of the design, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer of 2014, includes suspended art illuminated by LED lights, improved amenities for pedestrians including benches, tables, and bike parking, as well as a "Red Carpet" area for hosting concerts, festivals, markets and outdoor films.

The Des Moines City Council approved two key pieces for the Nollen Plaza renovation project, led by Des Moines Performing Arts, which has been five years in the making, including a $400,000 development grant for the project, which will be paid out by the City in $100,000 installments over four years once the project is completed.

The Des Moines City Council also approved the schematic design and development grant with a 7-0 vote.

Highlights of the new design:

A red granite stone surface will extend from Capital Square to the Des Moines Civic Center creating “Des Moines’ Red Carpet. The Red Carpet will replace the sunken amphitheater and wading pool and will host concerts, festivals, markets, outdoor films, and other special events for more than 3,000 visitors. The iconic sculpture “Crusoe Umbrella” designed by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen will remain as a recognizable symbol of Des Moines and will be joined by a new sculpture by Jim Campbell that utilizes suspended art, illuminated with LED lights. Other amenities will include an interactive water feature, gardens, the Peace Rock Memorial, improved pedestrian comforts such as benches, tables and bicycle racks; and enhanced lighting. The project design will feature the latest in environmentally friendly practices including native plants and trees.

Des Moines Performing Arts is close to its fundraising goal of $11 million needed for the Nollen Plaza renovation project. Construction will likely begin this summer with a completion date of next summer.