For some neighbors, there is nothing but bad news.
“We’re gonna miss it if it’s taken,” said Beverly Katzmann, who lives just across Beaver Avenue.
Rice Field will be “taken.”
The council approved a new plan by Ewing Developments of Pella to build a 54-unit senior living development which proponents say helps plan ahead for aging baby boomers.
“The kind of housing that is in this project could meet a portion of that need,” said Des Moines city manager, Rick Clark.
Other neighbors like the new plan.
The Ewing development is smaller, uses no public funding, preserves existing trees, and spends $300,000 on a new storm sewer which should help everyone.
“All the (storm) water runs down onto Wallace Lane and they have no place for it to go,” said Pam Nagel, whose home borders Rice Field. “It runs down there and it’s a swamp.”
Like other Ewing developments, this one will be a “co-op” meaning Ewing manages the development that’s owned by the residents. The city likes that better than the original plan for rental units.
“I can’t help but believe that the Ewing people listened carefully to the biggest concerns that we had in 2007 and responded,” said councilman, Chris Coleman.
The city has many designated “green spaces”, and Rice Field isn’t one of them. Perhaps it’s ironic that it’s been a flashpoint for 12 years.
“I live next to it and it’s gonna be a big change, I’ve enjoyed watching everybody and listening to the music and the various groups that play and do this and that…but time moves on.”