DES MOINES, Iowa — A group in the Lower Beaver Neighborhood is proposing a major development project along Douglas Avenue. If approved by Des Moines City Council, the project would expand 2.8 miles from the Des Moines River to Merle Hay Road.
The Douglas Avenue Coalition has been working on the proposal since 2015. The master plan shows how the group would transform and beautify the area with new sidewalks and more green spaces throughout the corridor. It also plans to reduce the number of driving lines in multiple locations along Douglas Avenue.
“First and foremost is safety and traffic calming we have a lot of traffic that flows through here very quickly and we want to slow that down for the safety of our drivers as well as pedestrians,” said Brian O’Leary president of the Douglas Avenue Coalition.
The overall goal is to make this section of Douglas Avenue a destination for shopping, restaurants, and improved housing. O’Leary is also hoping to add a recreational area near the Des Moines River.
“We want it to be a destination, so I would love to see a water pad there maybe a place where food trucks congregate, definitely water trail access…this would be a great place to put in a kayak or a boat and go to downtown Des Moines,” said O’Leary.
The project currently does not have a total price tag, but the coalition is planning on paying for it by applying for federal, state, and city grants. Private investors are also welcomed to contribute to the development.
“By and large, people are excited about this. It's an outdated corridor, and you can tell the people are excited to see some change happen,” said O’Leary.
If approved the development will happen in different phases. The first phase would include lane reduction and reconstruction of all of the sidewalks. It’s estimated that it will take a minimum of 10 years to be be completed.
To view the full proposed plan click here.