Des Moines joins with Forterra to buy property above Marina

By Jack Mayne

Des Moines city officials on Thursday signed an agreement with Forterra to purchase a little over a half acre property located above the Des Moines Marina, with the intention of expanding the city’s parks and open spaces as well as preserving this property for permanent conservation.

The property is located at 402 S. 222nd Street (map below) in Des Moines, an historic “site of local significance” above Cliff Avenue overlooking Puget Sound which provides sweeping views of the water and the Marina floor.

The city said on Thursday night (Aug. 24) said that the property contains the former home of sawmill operator William Van Gasken. The house on the property was built in 1889, and has remained in the family until it was recently put on the market.

Des Moines identified the site for acquisition in order to preserve the property, provide additional park and open spaces in the city, and to ensure that the site was not redeveloped in a manner that would further limit public access and views of Puget Sound.

The city said Forterra will initially finance the purchase price of $1.19 million while Des Moines officials seek money from available grants. In addition to grant funding, city officials say Des Moines has allocated “park in-lieu” fees which the city has received from current development projects to cover a portion of the purchase price. State law to specific uses including the acquisition of additional park capacity limits these funds.

City officials added that no funds that could be used for ongoing structural expenses in the general fund (like additional staff), or for capital improvements – such as reconstruction of the Marina bulkhead – are being used for this purchase.

“I am extremely proud of the partnership between the City and Forterra that is resulting in the acquisition of this beautiful property,” said Mayor Matt Pina. “By purchasing this property, we will be preserving it from private development and opening it up for the citizens of this community to enjoy for generations to come.”

“All of us see how growth is accelerating in the cities around Puget Sound,” said Forterra president Gene Duvernoy. “To hold onto the beauty and livability that define the region, it’s vital that we secure keystone places like the historic Van Gasken property, which, with its setting and sweeping views, has potential to become a signature park for the people of Des Moines. We salute the vision of the city’s leaders and are proud to be a partner.”


4 Responses to “Des Moines joins with Forterra to buy property above Marina”
  1. Jay says:

    Thank you so very much to the city of Des Moines for the decision to preserve the property! So very happy to learn this historical landmark will not be torn down.

  2. Sandra Higgins says:

    Another good decision by the city. Des Moines is changing, yes, in good ways!

  3. Jerry Burns says:

    This should be a great addition to what arguably is one of the nicest marina & park complexes on the sound, a far better use for the property than putting up another view blocking, traffic generating luxury housing development. However if the city seems to have no problem funding these projects would think it could address our crumbling street infrastructure. S223rd from Marine View Drive to the fire station is so deteriorated I’ve stopped using it. Also would like to know why the entire length of S216th has been rebuilt with the exception of the portion from the library to the beginning of the uphill grade, it’s so bad the pothole patches have patches. These are just two of the many streets seriously degraded. I fully support parks, marina & arts development, I bike ride the marina and creek trail virtually every nice day but basic road maintenance should take precedence.

  4. John O'Leary says:

    This is a beautiful piece of property and worthy addition to the city park system. I just wonder given city finances if this will under go the same Renaissance of several years of boarded up windows and enconsed in chain link fence panels like the Beach Park endured? That would truly be sad. But in true protection of the property, please quickly install a quality monitored alarm system. I recall extensive damage done by vandals to aforementioned Beach Park properties that stood vacant for so long.

Share Your Opinion

By participating in our online comment system, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our comment policy.

...and oh, if you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!