In the fall of 2004, several youth gathered for an A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS) house meeting at Grace United Methodist Church (UMC) in Des Moines. One of the primary issues that emerged was the need for more recreational opportunities for youth and more specifically, a large quality skatepark, which could be centrally located in the City of Des Moines. After the issue was researched, and with the support and guidance of AMOS, several youth and adults met with Mayor Frank Cownie and the Parks Director. Mayor Cownie voiced their support for the skatepark, and encouraged the youth to pursue this with the community and city, telling them,”Keep working on it and don’t give up!”
A large community meeting was held at Grace UMC with over 50 skateboarders and parents, the Parks Manager, and AMOS representatives. The Des Moines Regional Skatepark Committee was formed to provide vision and leadership to move the project forward. Through a series of regular meetings, the committee discussed possible sites, the composition of the skatepark, designers, and preliminary costs for a world-class park in Des Moines. The consensus was to build a large regional skatepark accessible to skateboarders of all ages, skill levels, and means.
The present 2-acre site, along the west bank of the Des Moines River in downtown Des Moines, was approved in 2009. The Des Moines Regional Skatepark Committee decided to move forward and raise funds privately to build the park. Premier designer and builder California Skateparks was chosen for the project.
In 2010, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines awarded a $50,000 leadership grant to enable the design to be completed and a fundraiser to be hired. Now two years later, the design for a 65,000 square foot skatepark, the largest open park in the US, has been completed, and fundraising can begin in earnest!