Creatively Re-Imagining The Linn Creek District

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The Linn Creek District is a continuously developing destination, centrally located in our community along the Linn Creek corridor just south of our historic downtown. With support of the Destination Iowa funding, we are reimagining the Linn Creek District to authentically celebrate our unique identity and create a must visit destination experience, while inspiring community connection and pride.

This exciting effort was made possible through a collaboration between the City of Marshalltown, Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, Arts + Culture Alliance and Marshalltown Arts & Civic Center. The projects included in this funding opportunity are the development of the Iowa River’s Edge Trailhead and bridge connection, Water Plaza and renovations to the Martha-Ellen Tye Playhouse.

“I often get the opportunity to visit Iowa communities and see transformational projects and success stories up close. There are so many amazing stories to tell, including Marshalltown, where a new water plaza will celebrate the arts and the city’s growing cultural diversity. These kinds of projects help raise the profile of our state and draw visitors with memories to make and dollars to spend”, shared Debi Durham, the Director of Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Finance Authority.

The first round of Destination Iowa was a $100 million investment, available through the federal American Recue Plan Act, to bolster the quality of life in Iowa’s communities and attract visitors and new residents to the state. Specifically, the Creative Placemaking category is about creating attractive and memorable places for people to live and work by developing transformational projects that leverage local community assets to improve the experience for visitors and residents of the area.

The development of the Linn Creek District has been on Marshalltown’s radar for decades. In 2007, the grass-roots community visioning plan, IMAGINE, included the Linn Creek District as one of Marshalltown’s seven big ideas. The vision for the district included transforming the Linn Creek banks into gathering places for events, sports and recreation opportunities, an interactive museum, and improvements to the playhouse.

Since the development of the vision plan, many of these projects have come to fruition. Most recently, the district has seen new housing development, expanded park areas, reinvigorated entertainment businesses, reimagined cultural spaces and expanded commercial operations. The development in this district, with a focus on creative placemaking, will tie together cultural, recreational and entertainment opportunities, while conveniently connecting our community to this centrally located asset.

Executive Director of the Arts + Culture Alliance, Amber Danielson, shared “the projects that are re-imagining the Linn Creek District directly tie to the City of Marshalltown’s Arts & Culture Master Plan. We are eager to see a prioritized focus on creative placemaking in this district, tying together opportunities for culture, recreation and entertainment, while conveniently connecting our community to this centrally located asset.”

Water Plaza: Marshalltown recognizes the importance of a creative and quality design, as well as a strong community engagement process. The creative placemaking process has led to an impactful design that is inclusive and reflective of the diverse background and experiences of the people of Marshalltown. What started as an interactive water feature, quickly turned into a unique experience with significant meaning and authentic reflection of our community. A unique interactive water feature and gathering place, developed from an extensive community engagement process. It highlights our culturally diverse community and provides an asset for all ages and demographics.

Trail Head and Bridge: In 2019, the City of Marshalltown received a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant for the creation of a placemaking plan for the River’s Edge Trail, a 34-mile trail connecting two counties from Marshalltown to Steamboat Rock. Riding or walking River’s Edge Trail is an “artful” experience unto itself. The trailhead, with close proximity to the highly visible signature bridge, is creating a dynamic and high impact area ready to implement two of the most significant priorities in our Trails Placemaking Plan.

President and CEO of the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, John Hall, stated, “we couldn’t be more pleased of the support from IEDA and the Governor’s Office for our Destination Iowa Projects. Advancing these efforts will continue to support our efforts to recruit and retain folks in our community by providing the necessary quality of place amenities that so many families and others are looking for in a place to call home.”

Making a vibrant and welcoming Marshalltown, alive with arts and authentic cultural opportunities, will take all of us. This future is hopeful and attainable. We invite you to take pART with us.


Together, with your support, we can create opportunities for a thriving and vibrant community. Make a 100% tax deductible donation* online today.

*The Arts + Culture Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. If you have any questions, please contact us.