NEW LOOK: Walnut Street Plans Unveiled

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A downtown Des Moines street is getting a major makeover in hopes of giving the area new life.

Developers unveiled the final streetscape concept for Walnut Street Monday.

The proposal began taking shape months ago when the old DART transit mall was vacated. The plans are still in their beginning stages, but what city planners and developers hope to achieve is a bright and fresh look to the area.

They hope to bring retail stores that we would normally see in larger cities like Minneapolis and Kansas City to town.

“It’s going to look a lot nicer down there and it’s definitely going to appeal to the younger crowd,” Karen Kolb said.

Planners are catering to those who work, live and socialize downtown.

“It’ll make things more convenient for people who work down here cause the only thing down here is Walgreens,” Molly Jackson said.

They are looking to give Des Moines a big city and contemporary feel. They expect their efforts to appeal to several major retail stores and restaurants.

Other improvements to this area would be wider sidewalks, community gardens and building art.

Planners say the development of Walnut Street will mesh with other existing social areas downtown.

“You might come down for an East Village experience and then do Walnut and vice versa, so it’s a win-win for all those existing and evolving districts,” Designer Dennis Reynolds said.

Now the plans head to the city council for approval.

They hope to break ground late this fall or early next spring. City planners estimate the facelift costing around $1 million.