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Rotary Riverwalk Park, Des Moines
"Bobber Park" features a 65-foot long steel fishing pole swing set frame

Landscape Architecture by RDG Planning & Design





Rotary Riverwalk Park in Des Moines involved a multidisciplinary team of professionals: artists; landscape architects (RDG Planning and Design); engineers; lighting designers; metal fabricators; contractors and construction managers; and the help and direction of the local Rotary groups. This view of "Bobber Park" from the hill above the park looks to the southeast in line with the 19th-century gold-domed Capitol Building across the Des Moines River. The stamped concrete is from Brickform. The cut-metal sign is by ASI Signage Innovations. The limestone seating blocks recognize donor funding.


Des Moines, Iowa's most populated city (pop. 203,433) is home to Rotary Riverwalk Park. The park is directly south of the Interstate 235 corridor at the northern edge of the Des Moines Riverwalk loop.

Rotary Riverwalk Park, more colloquially known as "Bobber Park," is on the west side of the 400-foot Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge (formerly the Landmark Bridge, aka Center Street Bridge) over the Des Moines River. The distinctive pedestrian bridge has a glass bottom for views of the river, and features separate pathways for pedestrians and bicyclists. Des Moines' 19th-century gold-domed capitol building is in prominent view from the park. The park is just north of the bridge, near the Wells Fargo Arena and the Hy-Vee Hall Convention Complex on the hillside. The park's play area features a 65-foot long steel fishing pole that cantilevers from the bank to form a most unusual swing set frame. At the end of the fishing pole is a 12-foot wide aluminum-spun bobber. The whimsical playground sculpture is a dramatic synthesis of art, architecture and engineering.

 



The $500,000 park was financed by nine local Rotary Clubs throughout central Iowa to celebrate the centennial of the Des Moines Rotary and honor the Rotary mission. The primary goal of the art commission was centered on the history and mission of the Rotary in the life of the greater Des Moines community. On the sweeping curved 30-ft. concrete retaining wall is etched the ethical credo promulgated in the 1930s by Herbert Taylor to save the Club Aluminum Products distribution company from bankruptcy. He called his moral code the "Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do." Rotarians worldwide adopted Taylor's test in their personal and business endeavors.

- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

 






The 65-foot long steel fishing pole cantilevers from the bank to form a most unusual swing set (Playworld Systems) frame. At the end of the fishing pole is a 12-foot wide aluminum-spun bobber. The swing and bobber area have poured-in-place safety surfacing. The pole-mounted 'Faro 960' luminaires (Hess America) have ceramic metal halide lamps. The specified turf is Kentucky bluegrass sod.



The sculptural installation is integrated within the site and the surrounding park to dramatic effect. The bobber, which kids love to climb on, 'floats' within the blue 'waters' of the safety surfacing. The sculptural form arches towards the water to echo the architecture of the adjacent pedestrian bridge.

The sculptural pole incorporates state-of-the-art color changing LEDs to a dramatic effect. Rectangular limestone block offer seating, and recognition for park donors.

 






The sculptural pole incorporates state-of-the-art color changing LEDs for dramatic effects. Louvered metal halide lighted bollards light the park pathway along the side of the hill. The unit pavers are 'Prest Paver Matrix' with a heavy Tudor finish.



Multidisciplinary Team
The park project involved a multidisciplinary team of professionals: artists; landscape architects; engineers; lighting designers; metal fabricators; contractors and construction managers; and the help and direction of the local Rotary groups to articulate the importance and impact of Rotary International, and how the sincere efforts of a dedicated group of people can have a positive and lasting impact.

Participation also included a diverse range of civic organizations, public agencies, city departments and elected officials from concept development through fabrication and installation. The sculptural installation required extensive coordination, with detailed design development and construction documents, committee facilitation and jurisdictional approval with the Riverfront Development Authority, parks and recreation, access advisory and urban design review boards, planning and zoning commission and the city council. Many people also volunteered their time to make the playground a reality, all the while pursuing a grass roots fundraising campaign.

Rotary Riverwalk Park received an Award of Merit in the built category from the ASLA Iowa Chapter in 2015.

 




Nine central Iowa Rotary Clubs financed the $500,000 park to celebrate the centennial of the Des Moines Rotary and honor the Rotary mission. On the sweeping curved 30-ft. concrete retaining wall is etched the "Four-Way Test", questions Rotarians ask themselves in their personal and business endeavors: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Hackberry trees are interspersed between the bollards.



Design Team
Landscape Architect, Lighting Designer & Electrical Engineer
RDG Planning & Design
Structural Engineer
Charles Saul Engineering
Artists
David Dahlquist & Drew Maifeld, RDG Dahlquist Art Studio
Clients
Ben Page, Director of Parks and Recreation
City of Des Moines
John Bouslog, Rotary Club of Des Moines AM

Construction Team
Construction Manager: Graham Construction
Electrical Contractor: Baker Electric
Earthwork Contractor: Elder Corporation
Concrete Contractor: Cameron Mitchell Inc.
Landscape Contractor: Country Landscapes Inc.
Metal Fabricator: Iowa Meal Fabrication LC
Playground Contractor: NPCG, LLC







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June 15, 2019, 10:29 pm PDT

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