Marina Steps Toward the Future: A Bold Transformation for Des Moines
The Marina Steps project is set to revolutionize the Des Moines Marina, forging a vital link between the city center and the picturesque Puget Sound waterfront.
Spanning 44,856 square feet, this innovative endeavor will seamlessly navigate a 36-foot elevation change, ensuring universal access through a series of steps and switchback ramps. Along this scenic route, visitors will encounter lookout points, offering panoramic views of the bustling waterfront. The landscape will feature natural driftwood timbers, evoking the rugged beauty of Washington's shoreline, providing idyllic spots for relaxation and reflection.
Beyond its aesthetic appeal, Marina Steps is poised to become a showcase for urban design and stormwater management. Water infiltration planters will line the pedestrian walkway, reconnecting natural drainage systems and introducing a landscape infiltration treatment. This forward-looking approach will play a crucial role in protecting the Puget Sound, while providing a visually engaging and eco-conscious experience for visitors and residents alike.
A Gateway to Future Development and Community Engagement The Marina Steps project is not an isolated endeavor, but a pivotal phase in a comprehensive masterplan. Positioned between potential development sites and future projects, it will serve as a dynamic hub for activity and interaction. With a strategic integration of indoor and outdoor spaces, it will offer a welcoming environment for residents and visitors, ensuring accessibility and inclusivity. Moreover, a Plaza at the base of the steps, designed to mirror the project's aesthetic language, will be a focal point for recreation and community events, serving as a vibrant testament to the city's evolution. Comprised of materials like concrete, stone, steel, and wood, the Marina Steps will provide a timeless backdrop for lush plantings and captivating public art. Informative signage will educate visitors on the water treatment techniques employed, emphasizing the project's invaluable contribution to the community and the vitality of the Puget Sound ecosystem.
The Public Development Plan Recent City Council meetings have begun to unveil ambitious plans that promise to elevate this waterfront gem into a vibrant, accessible, and ecologically-conscious destination. At a January 2023 Study Session, City Manager Michael Matthias presented a historical perspective on the Marina, highlighting plans from the 1980s that still inspire development efforts. Past proposals encompassed enhanced waterfront access, a pedestrian retail space, and a greenbelt promenade. In 2008, the UW School of Architecture crafted a comprehensive plan, excluding residential development.
Skylabs Architects have unveiled an ambitious vision, emphasizing downtown connectivity, accessibility, public spaces, and ecological considerations. The plan envisions a meandering path with educational features, stormwater treatment for environmental preservation, and an iconic amphitheater-style fountain. Native plantings and driftwood elements would restore habitat and support the design's natural integration.
Feasibility Studies and Future Steps City Manager Matthias proposed conducting feasibility studies for landslide redevelopment and capital improvement projects. At this dynamic juncture, Des Moines stands at the threshold of a transformative chapter in its waterfront history. As the community and council deliberate, the vision for a vibrant, accessible, and economically thriving Marina takes shape, poised to leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.