Imagine having a new 400-acre public lake located less than 20 minutes from anyone living in Poweshiek County, just off Interstate 80, south of Grinnell, Iowa!

The county is being presented with a potential state grant opportunity to be the catalyst to significantly enhance the quality of life for the people who live, work, and play in the region. Local leaders have partnered with experienced land development and engineering teams to help make this project a reality.

Imagine Your Staycation, Weekend Getaway, or Forever Home

As a public lake, Sapphire will serve as a huge recreation venue for residents in and around Poweshiek County. There will be substantial land set aside for public trails, parks, campgrounds, and public access to the lake. Water sports and fishing is anticipated to be excellent as the water quality in the lake will be high. Imagine the opportunities for:

  • Beach
  • Trails
  • Outdoor Sports
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Kayaking
  • Swimming
  • Housing
  • Nature
  • Wildlife & Aquatic Life
  • Public Access to Amenities
  • Enhanced Water Quality
  • Inclusive Recreation for All Ages and Abilities
  • Recruiting & Retaining Valuable Workforce
  • Economic Windfall to the Region
  • School Activities
  • Children Outdoor Activities
  • Retiring Lakeside

How are the City and County working on funding the project?

At the end of 2022, the City of Grinnell and Poweshiek County submitted a joint application to the State of Iowa, Destination Iowa program, seeking a $12 million grant to fund a portion of the cost of the dam and lake. To qualify for the grant, the State would expect the local public bodies (City and County) to fund much of the cost. The State dollars are intended to be a catalyst for the project.  

The State is supportive of the Sapphire Lake project and continues to encourage the City and County to work together to develop the project. An update to the original grant application was submitted back to the State of Iowa in late May. Officials are in the process of evaluating the project and their level of financial involvement.

Local leaders are continuing to work through local funding options and they meet regularly to move the project forward.

If funding is approved, what is the timeline for the project?

We hope the funding is finalized between the City, County, and State in mid to late-2023.  Many additional steps must be completed including negotiations with landowners, environmental permitting, construction of the dam and lake, infrastructure, lot development and sales, etc. If everything goes well, construction of the dam and lake could begin in 2024 and be completed in 2026. Lots could be available for sale in late 2025 and 2026.

More information will be coming soon as the funding package is finalized.