Significant Momentum and Progress In The Linn Creek District

Screenshot 2023-12-11 120015

In partnership with the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Marshalltown, we are delighted to share an update on the progress of the Linn Creek District projects.

The development of this District has been on Marshalltown’s radar for decades. In 2007, community planning efforts resulted in Marshalltown’s vision plan, IMAGINE, which included the Linn Creek District as one of the seven big ideas. Strategically and creatively expanding the offerings in the growing Linn Creek District is a critical opportunity for a greater focus on connectivity, accessibility and celebration of our culture. The exciting projects included in this effort include the development of the Apgar Family Water Plaza, Ann C. Keyser Trailhead, Emerson Bridge and Martha-Ellen Tye Playhouse.

At last night’s Marshalltown City Council meeting, John Hall from the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce and Amber Danielson from the Arts + Culture Alliance, provided an encouraging update on the ongoing fundraising efforts. The council also celebrated and formally approved several significant contributions that have enabled the naming of key projects, including the Emerson Bridge and the Apgar Family Water Plaza.

“Living here all of my life, I have observed the collaboration and impact from the generosity of past families in this community. I was humbled to be asked and immediately thought about how I could honor my brother and connect back to his legacy around water and recreation. I was delighted to be a part of the significant development of the Linn Creek District, creating a unique recreational area that will be admission free and welcoming to the whole community,” stated Tom Apgar.

President of Emerson, Kevin Meyer, shared “Emerson is pleased to be a part of the Linn Creek developments. These will be long-term enhancements to Marshalltown and places for our community to gather.”

The fundraising campaign, officially launched in February, aims to raise $2.5 million to support four major community projects. In less than four months, thanks to the remarkable generosity of our supporters, we have reduced the funding gap to less than $200,000.

Executive Director of the Arts + Culture Alliance, Amber Danielson, shared, “we are deeply moved by the community’s generosity and support for these projects. This incredible momentum highlights the strong desire to invest in creating a unique and vibrant community that honors and celebrates the people of Marshalltown. We are proud to witness the success of these projects as they represent the first major initiatives of the City of Marshalltown’s Arts & Culture Master Plan, promising a lasting impact on our community.”



The renovation of the Martha-Ellen Tye Playhouse aims to update the stunning 1969 landmark to meet modern codes and accessibility standards while preserving its intimate community performance space. This project represents phase two of the Marshalltown Arts & Civic Center’s revitalization, aligning with the Linn Creek District’s vision to celebrate creativity and connect both residents and visitors to our centrally located “arts and culture hub.”



What began as an interactive water feature quickly transformed into a meaningful and unique experience that truly reflects our community. Inspired by community input, the concept of “Skipping Stones” was adopted, symbolizing unity across all origins and ages, as many have cherished memories of skipping stones at some point in their lives. The site design features a series of rhythmic “ripples,” with strategically timed fountains throughout the plaza simulating the effect of stones skipping across water, all converging toward the central beacon of the Apgar Family Water Plaza. This project marked the first time the City of Marshalltown required an artist to be part of the design team from the very beginning. Iowa artist Hilde DeBruyne was engaged and led the creation of this incredibly unique and meaningful experience for our community. We are proud to announce that the Apgar Family Water Plaza has already received recognition, earning a 2024 Central States ASLA Merit Award.



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 Iowa River’s Edge Trail. This 34-mile trail will connect two counties from Marshalltown to Steamboat Rock, passing through five communities in between. The Ann C. Keyser Trailhead will create a dynamic and high impact destination to include unique structures, providing restrooms and event space, with creative integration of seating, bike racks, gathering spaces, wayfinding signage and the Marshalltown Skatepark.



The Emerson Bridge will enhance connections by threading together people and places in a creative, safe, and accessible way. To maintain the unique design continuity of the Linn Creek District, the acrylic material used in the Apgar Family Water Plaza will also be incorporated into the Emerson Bridge. This feature allows the sun to cascade through, creating vibrant shadows along the path. Inspired by the flow of Linn Creek, the design reflects the importance of ‘flow’ to Emerson. As the saying goes, “if it flows through a pipe, chances are it’s controlled by Fisher Controls Co (since 1880).”


Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce CEO & President, John Hall, shared, “these have been some of the most rewarding projects to get to work on. Not only the excitement we are seeing from those that have donated to this point, but also the impact that we know these projects will have in helping our community to recruit and retain top talent. Quality of place matters so much to our workforce needs.”

In compliance with the Destination Iowa funding requirements, these projects will go out for bid later this year, with construction set to begin in early 2025. The goal is to complete these projects by the fall of 2026. The public fundraising phase will kick off in the coming months and more information will be available soon on how you can take pART in this exciting initiative in Marshalltown.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. Together, we are creating a vibrant and thriving community!



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.