Sapphire Lake is a proposed 400-acre public access lake located just south of Grinnell in Poweshiek County. Local leaders have partnered with experienced land development and engineering teams to help make this project viable for the region.

Why Sapphire Lake?
Sapphire Lake will have a significant positive impact on nearly all aspects of the local economy. The lake development will increase both the permanent population and the daytime population through tourism, housing development, business growth, and enhanced quality of life.

Recreational opportunities available to the public at Sapphire Lake are expected to include water sports, boating, fishing, recreational trails, biking, beaches, camping, natural areas, and utilization of parks for social gatherings. This lake development will complement and add to the vibrancy that other recreational, cultural, and social opportunities already provide for in the region.

Grinnellʼs current daytime population is estimated to be 16,084 (STI: PopStats™). Early projections indicate Sapphire Lake could increase this number to more than 20,000. This is a critical threshold for regional and national retailers when making site selection decisions. The positive impacts of the lake on the economy will intensify in the summer months which is valuable since this can be a slow time in the area when Grinnell College is not in session.

Housing is another crucial aspect of this project. Housing options are expected to include lake front homes, lakeview homes, homes adjacent to natural areas (referred to conservation lots), standard single-family detached homes, duplexes, and multifamily homes. A wide range of price points will be offered to appeal to many buyers.

The development team that crafted this project nearly 20 years ago spent considerable effort and resources to
engage industry professionals to vet out this project examining everything from permitting for the dam, analysis of housing development, and project development costs. We appreciate this teams willingness to share information to help make Sapphire Lake a reality.

When can the community expect to know more?
There is much work to do before this project can become a reality. In the meantime, the development team is working with the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Efforts will be taken to ensure Sapphire Lake uses best available environmental practices to achieve the highest level of water quality. These will include environmental buffers, stream bank erosion control measures, natural areas, sediment basins, storm water structures to capture debris and sediment, and a host of other practices.

This is a large, complex project with many moving parts. While it could provide a tremendous boost to our region in many ways, it will require our community and our region to pull in the same direction.

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