By Jack Mayne

Des Moines Operations Officer Dan Brewer and Harbor Master Scott Wilkins updated the Des Moines Council on the Marina Master Plan on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

Brewer said there have been recent questions about what the plan is, which is a plan reviewed very five years and updated every 10 years.

Brewer said the Marina plan has much of the upgrade work to be done by this year, but COVID-19 slowed the process.

Replacing Marina bulkhead ‘essential’
“It is a long range planning tool that each of our departments have to master plan or comprehensive plans they look at for long range planning,” Brewer said.

The plan document says the Marina bulkhead is “an essential part of the Marina infrastructure, but that … the bulkhead’s condition is moderate” and “its rate of deterioration is a point of concern and it requires replacement.”

The city has said the top of the north facing bulkhead “wall will be raised by approximately one foot … ”to offset the relative sea level rise anticipated in the next 50 years. These areas are already subject to overtopping by large waves, meaning a rise in relative sea level would exacerbate the problem.” But the planned increase is planned for half a foot since the area is sheltered and “not subject to significant overtopping.”

“The future of the fourteen floating docks is an important issue since in 2005 they generated $1.974 million (50 percent) of the Marina revenues,” says the plan. “Costs involved in their replacement will be a substantial investment. It appears that the floating docks can be kept in serviceable condition until 2010 or beyond, but the anticipated future expenses and impacts are so significant that a discussion of the long-range replacement alternatives should be part of this process.”

The Marina’s Municipal Facilities Committee, a consultant, and staff looked at several replacement alternatives for the permanent moorage docks to see if the potential slip mix with construction and operating costs.

“The goal in analyzing these alternatives was to stay as close as possible to the current number of slips and to maintain current revenue levels without large rate increases,” the city says.

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Debt and demand
A constraint was the “amount of debt that can be carried by the Marina. The Master Plan recommends that total debt be kept below $12 million at any given time.”

Finally, the marina report says “The Master Plan recommends that the docks, as they are replaced, be reconfigured as much as possible to meet projected market demand. Although the Marina continues to experience an increase in demand for larger slips, the demand for the smaller slips is not decreasing as fast as expected.”