Music Returns to Riverview Island

Sep 27, 2016

An area of north Des Moines that holds a nostalgic place in the hearts of many central Iowans is being remade into a site where future generations can build memories.

Architect drawing of the Riviera Stage.
Credit ASK Studio

Riverview Park sat on an island near the Des Moines River and operated from 1915 until 1978.

Plans are now in place to convert it into an outdoor concert venue large enough for 10,000 people.

Des Moines Parks and Recreation Director Ben Page says in designing the project, it was important to celebrate the future while honoring the past.

“It’s the place where maybe you had your first kiss," he says. "It was the first place you met your spouse. We heard many more stories I can’t share with you, but it’s been a very awesome place.”

The stage will be called the Riviera to recall the ballroom that once occupied the island and drew legendary musicians such as Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller.

Proposed concert venue on Riverview Island.
Credit ASK Studio

Architect Brent Schipper with ASK Studio in Des Moines says the stage design is meant to recall that past.

“Our final idea of the design was the island will once again be home to legends, laughter and dancing,” he says.

A $4 million capital campaign is being launched to fund the Riverview Park project, which includes a million dollars for the Riviera Stage.

The first concert date will depend on the success of the capital campaign.