Story, Photos & Video By Sarah Toce

City of Des Moines consultant Jennie Foglia-Jones kicked off the meeting for community engagement and feedback on the Marina Steps Project on Tuesday night, Feb. 13, 2024 at the Des Moines Beach Park Auditorium.

More than 60 people attended the session in person; ages seemingly varied from six to over 60 years old.

Jones said it was, “heartening to see such a vibrant and engaged community.”

A brief history of the Marina Redevelopment Project kicked off the evening, which highlighted key milestones and a robust timeline spanning two decades. A Q&A opportunity was not offered at the mic; however, guests were encouraged to visit the architectural design stations placed around the room and complete comment cards. Representatives for the City and architectural consulting firm KSP were available for questions and discussions.

Des Moines Mayor Tracie Buxton was in attendance, as were Deputy Mayor Harry Steinmetz, along with Councilmembers Gene Achziger, Matt Mahoney, and others.

“It’s not just steps,” Buxton shared when she took the stage. “It’s not just a piece of concrete. …we are building an outdoor living room to give to our community and invite people to come and play and be entertained and see art and see the beauty and be able to sit with each other on the benches and play places and splash plant pad.”

Buxton added:

“It’s a community gathering place – and not only that: it’s a gift to the region. It’s going to be like a welcome rolling out the red carpet that says come and join us here. Come and play here. Come and see what we have here, and a gathering place for everybody.”

Des Moines becoming a destination was the theme of the evening, along with community and growth.

“I’m so excited [for Des Moines] to be a destination,” Buxton said. “It’s been so exciting planning … and I’m just hoping the excitement as we move forward.”

The Marina Redevelopment Project architectural renderings showcased benches aplenty throughout with accessibility options, such as rampways, running parallel to the main arterial. A playground concept for generational mingling was also a highlight at the feedback session.

More info on the Marina Steps project is here:


Below is video of the meeting:


Sarah has been in media and publishing for over 16 years and previously served as the president of the Society of Professional Journalists