The Splash Pad opens July 26 in Johnston’s new town plaza, The Yard

Piece by piece, Johnston is unveiling the proceeds of a $ 32 million investment in what the city hopes to become a hub for residents. Since opening its new town hall last October, the town

Piece by piece, Johnston is unveiling the proceeds of a $ 32 million investment in what the city hopes to become a hub for residents.

Since opening its new town hall last October, the town has expanded downtown Johnston. His most recent project at The Yard, the large green space in front of Town Hall that will serve as the Town Square, is a wading pool.

From Friday until the end of summer, families will be able to use the paddling pool every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Powered by running boards, the splash-proof basin features both post-mounted and buried water jets, depending on the city. The splash pad will be on to play at night.

Without neglecting parents and guardians, the paddling pool is surrounded by shaded structures and plenty of seats beyond the reach of the jets.

Community Development Director David Wilwerding said a playground was at the top of the list of suggested amenities when officials started talking about an outdoor space near town hall.

“We hear loud and clear from our residents that we don’t have enough water options in Johnston, so a playground has long been on the list of activities residents want,” he said.

Johnston's New Downtown Paddling Pool and Lounge on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Johnston, IA.

To ensure year-round use, the city will convert the paddling pool to an ice rink in the winter, removing the above-ground water features and filling the space with synthetic ice. Skate rental will be done at a small concession stand nearby.

“If you look at downtown Des Moines and Brenton Skating Plaza, it’s crowded no matter how cold in the winter and that’s the kind of draw we want to have here in the winter,” Wilwerding said.

A few works of art will adorn the space, including “Ripples”, a 12-foot-tall, 21-foot-long fish sculpture with movable scales that will reflect the sun. The sculpture will also light up at night and is built for children to walk through. This piece is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

“He’s the representative of a fish to play on the natural resource that we have at Johnston of Beaver Creek, Terra Lake and Saylorville Lake and he’s meant to be interactive,” Wilwerding said.

On the north and west sides of the concession stand, there will be murals by artist Jimmy Navarro. As well, the famous sculpture “UpDown” by artist Mark Jacobsen is located east of Town Hall.

Eventually, Wilwerding said, the space surrounding City Hall and The Yard will be expanded to provide $ 50 million in offices, restaurants, hotels and stores. The city already has two multi-tenant buildings set to lead the way in the fall near Northwest 63rd Place and Merle Hay Road, although tenants have yet to be announced.

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Wilwerding said the city has been planning since 2006 to have a downtown-like area with active outdoor space that could support businesses emerging nearby.

“We would be surrounded by commercial buildings all around us, the idea being to activate this outdoor space all year round and it would support all the businesses here and have this entertainment, this retail, this place where you can park. and park and hit five or six stores, ”he said.

The city will celebrate the grand opening of The Yard with a performance at 8:30 p.m. on August 28 by Maddie Poppe, winner of “American Idol” 2018 of Clarksville.

All available tickets for Poppe’s concert have already been claimed, but Johnston residents can still get up to four free tickets each starting July 26 at Town Hall.

Sarah LeBlanc covers the western suburbs for the Registry. Contact her at 515-284-8161 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @sarahkayleblanc

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