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Ortgies retiring after 34 year with WDM’s parks department


Sally Ortgies plans to retire in March after serving for 34 years in various roles with West Des Moines’ Parks and Recreation Department.

Ortgies began her career with West Des Moines in 1989 as a landscape architect intern. After she graduated from Iowa State University, she joined the city’s parks and recreation department as its first full-time landscape designer/architect. Ortgies became superintendent of parks in August 1998, a position she held for 18 years before becoming the department’s director in 2016.   

City Manager Tom Hadden said Ortgies’ impact on the region will be felt for years to come through her involvement in the Five Waters Project, which includes the Raccoon River Park Boathouse, the Jamie Hurd Amphitheater, the Athene Pedestrian Bridge, the Marathon Loop Trail, and the Raccoon River Greenway.

Ortgies also was instrumental in the planning and construction of the MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex, the development of Raccoon River Park, the initiation of the Shade Crusade Residential Tree Sale and multiple water quality improvement projects, the completion of nearly 70 miles of multiuse trails throughout West Des Moines, and the expansion of the city’s public art program.

A public open house celebrating Ortgies’ career will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. March 30 at the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge, 2500 Grand Ave. Ortgies’ last day with the city is March 31.

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