About the Project | Athene pedestrian bridge

The Athene Pedestrian Bridge is one of five signature ‘quality of life’ initiatives set forth in the City of West Des Moines Five Waters Project, with a goal to give residents and visitors of all ages and abilities new ways to connect with the great outdoors. Spanning the beautiful Raccoon River, this iconic bridge will serve as a seamless connection for cyclists and pedestrians from Raccoon River Park to Walnut Woods State Park , Brown’s Woods, Purple Martin Lake Water Recreation Area, Hidden Valley Soccer Complex and dozens of miles of future greenway trails.

Phase 1 of the project will include approximately 4,700 linear feet of paved trail from the Raccoon River Park entrance to the Hidden Valley Soccer Complex entrance along Walnut Woods Drive (SW 52nd Avenue).

The proposed truss bridge is 620 linear feet long with an additional 345 linear feet of elevated ramp in Walnut Woods State Park. With the construction of the bridge, the existing granular trail around Blue Heron Lake is to remain intact but will have a short 775 foot section repositioned to accommodate the earth berm trail up to the bridge. Total estimated construction cost is $7.9 million.

Project Details

  • Raccoon River Park Plaza & Donor Walls
    The north end of the bridge will be anchored by a small plaza on top of the earth berm that connects users to Raccoon River Park below. This plaza will incorporate several unique features that will help celebrate donors to the bridge project and highlight the surrounding natural elements.
  • The Overlooks & Tree Canopy
    The center of the bridge will be highlighted by an artistic tree shade canopy structure and two overlooks to the east and west. The tree canopy will draw visitors to the center of the river where they can feel as if they are among the trees while enjoying expansive views of the Raccoon River corridor.
  • Walnut Woods State Park Entrance & Trails
    The south end of the bridge is connected to Walnut Woods State Park by an elevated ramp that winds down through the trees and passes through two gateway features marking the park entry. The paved trail section will follow the current soft surface trail along Hidden Valley Soccer Complex and terminate at Walnut Woods Drive.


This capital campaign is made possible by the following generous community members who are giving of their time, energy and talents as volunteers on the Athene Pedestrian Bridge Campaign Advisory Council:

  • Brandon Hoch
  • Chris Costa
  • Eric Tabor
  • Forrest Ridgway
  • Gene Meyer
  • Hank Norem
  • Jim Miller
  • Katherine Harrington
  • Maria Davis
  • Michelle Mahoney
  • Robert Palmer
  • Sanjita Pradhan
  • Tom Cox

Donate to the Rick Swalwell Memorial Fund

For more information or to donate to the Athene Pedestrian Bridge, contact Jen Cross, Vice President of Donor Relations, at jen@greatoutdoorsfoundation.org or (515) 452-0022.