Des Moines approves plan for new Riverfront Park

Aerial photo of Des Moines, Iowa from 10,000 feet on May 6, 2017. (USDA photo by Preston Keres)
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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Work should begin soon to build a park at the site of a much-loved but long closed Des Moines amusement park.

The City Council on Monday approved a plan to create a new version of Riverview Park, which for decades was home to an amusement park that closed in 1978.

A nonprofit foundation has spent nearly 10 years raising $600,000 to help pay for the new park, according to KCCI-TV .

"It will change the entire landscape of the Oak Park, Highland Park, Union Park area," said City Council member Linda Westergaard, who recalled visiting the amusement park as a child.

Riverview Park is a nostalgic location for many longtime Des Moines residents, who recall riding the roller coaster or attending teen dances and concerts at the Riviera Ballroom. The amusement park opened in 1915 and was modeled after Brooklyn's Coney Island.

Construction of the new park is expected to begin this spring with plans to open in summer 2020.

The park will include a 6,000-seat outdoor concert venue, playground and concession stand.

The total cost of the new park is estimated at $4 million with funding shared by the nonprofit Parks Area Foundation, city of Des Moines, Polk County and Prairie Meadows Casino.