Project Updates

Historic West Des Moines Design Guidelines Adopted by City Council

On Monday, December 5th, 2022 West Des Moines City Council adopted the Historic West Des Moines Design Guidelines, as presented – inclusive of all 5 design districts. In advance of Council review, the Design Guidelines had received unanimous recommendation by the Planning and Zoning Commission on September 26th.


The page behind the button below holds the answers to some of the most common FAQs the team and committee have been fielding as part of the Master Plan Update. Please click, read, scroll and explore. Still have questions? Head to our contact page to drop us a note or connect via the plentiful ways outlined in the FAQs.

Council Adopts Design Guidelines for 5th Street

Unanimous recommendation by City Council: Pages 1-40 of the Historic West Des Moines Design Guidelines were adopted by City Council on February 21st, 2022 with a vote of 5-yes, 0-no. This section focuses on Architectural and Streetscape Guidelines for the Mixed Use Commercial District centered on 5th Street in Valley Junction. Council also passed the 6-month demolition moratorium for buildings in the Valley Junction Mixed Use District, except for 111 and 113 5th Street. Click below for more details.

“This is the most clapping ever had in a City Council meeting.”

Virtual Design Workshop & Survey Summary

Historic West Des Moines, thanks for showing up! With over 470 survey responses and 600+ comments we are excited to share with you the results of the Virtual Design Workshop and Visual Preference Survey. Click the button below to view a summary of findings as presented to the Steering Committee on January 5th, 2022.

Small Nation Neighborhood Workshop

You came, you shared, we learned! Big thanks to everyone who joined us on November 17th, 2021 for the Neighborhood Workshop with Small Nation. The evening showcased success strategies on how other historic Midwest towns are activating spaces, curating experiences, and celebrating their people, places, and heritage. View the summary below.


Welcome to the project website for the Historic West Des Moines Master Plan Update. We are back to continue where we left off with the 2016 Master Plan, and further our focus on an important set of topics. It’s time to come together once again to help make Historic West Des Moines the best it can be. The study area is highlighted below and generally bounded by 1st St to the East, Grand Ave to the West and North, and Railroad Ave/Lincoln Street to the South.

Get To Know the Existing 2016 Master Plan

Watch the summary video below or click here to view a PDF.