Businesses Partner Together To Redesign East Village Block

DES MOINES, Iowa – Thanks to a few businesses, people will see new changes coming to one block in the East Village.

Greater Des Moines Partnership, AARP Iowa and local businesses are teaming up to work together and redesign a single block in East Village, calling it "Build a Better Block".

AARP Iowa State Director Brad Anderson said volunteers plan to add more color to the bike lanes, more seating on the sidewalks, planters and art.

“Part of that work involves safer streets, safer sidewalks, making it easier for folks to walk downtown. Make it easier for the 50 plus community to ride their bike to work and just enhancing their overall quality of life,” Anderson said.

The block being redesigned is between East 5th and East 6th Street on East Grand Avenue.

“This was one block that was chosen, because frankly the business owners and the community around this block wanted to be a part of this project, and there is genuine excitement around this project. Really, we are limited in what we are able to do in terms of resources and time, so we had to pick one block,” Anderson said.

There are 20 volunteers involved in the redesign. The volunteers will work from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Anderson said this project is a reflection from what the city wants to continue to do in the area. About a year ago the new bike lanes were put in place.

“Part of our goal is to influence that work and say, ‘think creatively about how you are approaching these protected bike lanes and these sidewalks.’ How can you incorporate everything into making the overall community more livable, not just for the 50 plus population but for everybody,” Anderson said.

Anderson said once the project is complete the businesses will take what they did to the city council and see if the city would like to do similar concepts around other parts of East Village.

Anderson said the project will be complete Thursday July 19th with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m.

People can still sign up and volunteer.