Iowa Riverfront Phase Four

Change is near. Be the catalyst.

Recent progress along the Council Bluffs riverfront is breathtaking, and we’re just a step away from securing the key, final phase.

We’re proud of how Council Bluffs looks and feels today. Together, we’ve made significant strides in creating more opportunities and spaces for learning, arts, entertainment, business and living.

Now, it’s time to bring focus to our invaluable geography, connecting the riverfront to all these spaces as a gathering point of outdoor recreation that actively welcomes all. Phase 4 of the development includes new features that will activate the park throughout the year: an observation tower, pier, treetop walk and trails, climbing adventure course, dog park and two thoughtfully designed play areas to serve children of all ages.

Phase 4 will complete the River’s Edge Development and serve as a critical component of a community-wide movement to amplify access, quality of life and the appeal of our area.

This final phase will further complement Southwest Iowa’s progress and vision to boost our economy, retain talent, attract millenials on the move and create a place of significance that builds pride, culture and community among residents. And with your help, we can put these plans into action.

Invest in community-wide prosperity.

The River’s Edge Development positively impacts our economy by creating jobs, increasing tax revenue and growing the rate-of-return for taxpayers.

According to studies, the River’s Edge Development is poised to inject nearly $304 million into the area’s economy, generating $19.1 billion in sales activity within the city and county over a 32-year period. The project can support 1,337 jobs annually during the two-year construction phase and 3,249 jobs annually during the 30-year operation phase, boosting state and local taxes by $131.7 million.

Root the best and brightest.

Iowa is among the top seven states registering economic losses to migration, according to 2015 US Census data. This is costly for Iowans, especially since the migration is selective and includes more educated and younger workers moving interstate. Nationwide, riverfront developments like River’s Edge have reduced, and continue to diminish the magnitude of local talent loss. And the news here is good: our riverfront is connected to population demographics that are known to be supportive of riverfront development, with Council Bluffs’ riverfront access average age of 33.1 Based on outcomes in other states, it is estimated that the River’s Edge Development could potentially reduce migrations on both sides of the river by 4.6%.

In addition to retaining our own talent, this development is designed to attract those migrating from other states, including the most mobile Americans: young, well-educated adults. Despite a decades-long, nationwide decline in American mobility, 1 million college-educated 25 to 34-year-olds move across state lines each year. Because mobility declines rapidly with age, the location decisions they make in their 20s and early 30s play a key role in shaping metropolitan economic success well into the future.

Today’s young adults are generally seeking areas with recreational amenities surrounding rivers and parks. Phase 4 of the River’s Edge Development is perfectly positioned to enhance Council Bluffs’ growth and form a base for future economic development.

Expand a vital resource.

The River’s Edge Development, above all else, creates an incredible amenity that will immediately impact quality of life in our community. Each individual component, from the playgrounds to the pier, provides access to the kinds of activities that greatly benefit health, happiness and wellbeing for Iowans and visitors alike.

Each of the elements in this initiative was carefully selected and refined with input from the Council Bluffs community. Throughout 2018, the project team hosted four public meetings that provided the public with opportunities to view project renderings, consider options, vote on inspirational ideas and programs, and provide general feedback.

The plan that emerged incorporates many of the desires expressed in these meetings, including “connection to the river,” “waterfront trails,” “multi-use lawn” and “children’s play area.” The resulting designs marry these suggestions with a diversity of experiences that balance beauty and function, ideality and practicality. Above all, it is designed to be a public space that creates a strong sense of pride and place for the community, where people of all ages abilities and socio-economic backgrounds can access and enjoy Iowa’s beautiful riverfront.

Riverfront Donors

$15 Million

  • Iowa West Foundation

$5 Million

  • Robert Daugherty Foundation
  • Mid-American Energy Foundation
  • Sherwood Foundation
  • Anonymous Donor

Up to $2 Million

  • Ty & Linda Borman
  • Lakin Foundation
  • Todd & Mary Heistand Family Foundation
  • Carl Mammel
  • Bob & Polina Schlott

Up to $1 Million

  • Back to the River
  • Dusty and Marlina Davidson
  • Heather Tomasek and Rick Knudtson
  • Southwest Iowa Foundation