M.L. King Jr. Park
1650 Garfield Avenue

ML King Jr Park features Combined Park Shelter and Congregate Meal Site

Des Moines’ new $1.1 million, 4,000 sq. ft., energy-efficient building, located at 1650 Garfield Avenue in M.L. King Jr Park, was dedicated in April 2009 as a City of Des Moines/Polk County facility. The collaborative, jointly-owned City/County project is a signature facility for the Park and Recreation Department and the Polk County Congregate Meal Program.  The enclosed, all-season shelter includes a full kitchen and dining room seating 90 as a congregate meal site on weekdays; it is available as a park shelter for private rental events on nights and weekends. It includes craft, computer, and medical examination rooms as well as the kitchen for use by the Polk County senior program and is not only Des Moines’ largest indoor park rental shelter but is also the first to be both heated in winter and cooled in summer.

This shelter is the first City-owned building to have a geothermal heat pump system, one of the most significant features of the building. Taking advantage of the Earth’s ability to maintain a nearly constant temperature below ten feet of the ground surface, it either releases heat to or takes heat from the Earth to cool and heat the building. This leads to the shelter using nearly 30% less energy than the maximum allowed by the energy code. It will also play an important part in the City/County’s successful pursuit of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for design and construction of the world’s greenest and most energy efficient and high-performing buildings.

Call 237-1386 to rent this new park facility for your next party or gathering.

  • ML King Park Enclosed Shelter
  • Basketball Court
    Enclosed Shelter (Air Conditioned and Heat, Must Reserve)
    Off-Street Parking
    Open-Air Shelter (must reserve)
    Picnic Tables
    Playground Equipment
    Softball Diamond
    Wading Pool
Improvements and Programs

Master Plan completed - 1999

  • Wading pool features various flush-mounted water spray features, zero-depth entry and a wading area and restroom building; overall cost of $375,000, with $100,000 of funding provided through a donation from American Republic Assurance in honor of Watson Powell, Jr.; constructed – 2001
  • Playground improvements completed in conjunction with a Meredith Corporation Rebuilding Together initiative - 2004
  • Baseball field improvements provided through funding from the Bright Foundation and ongoing maintenance provided through a partnership with the Iowa Cubs; programmed through the Boys and Girls Club

Enclosed year-round shelter – completion fall 2008

  • The Des Moines park system’s only facility with a full kitchen; seating for 90 persons
  • Collaborative project funded in partnership with Polk County; the facility will serve the county as a congregate meal site for this area of the city and will feature a dining area as well as craft, computer, and medical examination rooms
  • Project budget $1.1 million
  • Shelter is a project in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification rating program of the U.S. Green Building Council for design and construction of the world’s greenest, most energy efficient and high-performing buildings
  • 2 trees planted and 2 rain gardens