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seven people standing with golden shovels in front of hoyt sherman place

Hoyt Sherman Place Begins Construction on Outdoor Plaza After Securing Lead Gift

Hoyt Sherman Place has secured a $200,000 naming rights gift from EMC Insurance Companies, and construction began on the much-anticipated outdoor plaza with a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 10.

The plaza design incorporates elements of the original 1910 plan for lawn enhancement created by Charles Mulford Robinson, who was commissioned by the Des Moines Women’s Club soon after they leased the property from the City of Des Moines as their Clubhouse. A subsequent plan in 1926 created by Etta Bardwell, University of Iowa’s first female landscape architect, added additional landscaping and was also commissioned by Des Moines Women’s Club when the theater addition was completed. Neither plan materialized fully due to lack of funding. Thanks to this generous gift from EMC Insurance Companies, their early dreams will now become a reality.

The current, updated designs will be brought to life with the help of Confluence Landscape Architects, Estes Construction, and Simonson & Associates after receiving unanimous approvals from the State Historic Preservation Office, the City of Des Moines Historic Preservation Commission, and the Hoyt Sherman Place Foundation’s Building & Grounds Committee.

Necessary contouring will make the Hoyt Sherman Place lawn, previously considered challenging for general use and special events due to the slope of the hill, more accessible. By expanding sidewalks, installing new steps, and performing minor grading, this project will increase ADA accessibility by providing an enhanced route from the parking lot to the lawn.

To date, over $350,000 has been pledged, which is close to 75% of the $500,000 campaign.  “We are so close to our goal and are on track to complete the project before the first free Jazz in July concert this summer on Tuesday, July 11.  This will be a great capstone project for our Centennial Season Celebration.” Robert Warren, C.E.O.

Please consider a gift to the Hoyt Sherman Place Lawn Enhancement Project today. Contact Robert Warren.

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