August Updates: Draft Guidelines Move Forward…

Hello, Historic West Des Moines! We are halfway through August and just two short days away from Thursday’s Farmers Market / Music in the Junction. Below are a few breezy updates to share regarding the Historic West Des Moines Master Plan Update:

On Wednesday, July 20th, 2022 the Steering Committee unanimously recommended the Draft Design Guidelines for the Commercial District, located along Grand Avenue and 1st Street. Click the button below to view the presentation slides on the Draft Commercial Design Guidelines.

The Railroad Avenue District was also re-opened for discussion and a motion made to reduce the height maximum from 3-stories to 2-stories in RA-2, which lies north of Railroad Avenue. The motion passed and the Draft Guidelines for Railroad Avenue, will be updated to reflect such.

Next Steps

The project team is focused on preparing the completed set of Design Guidelines for presentation to Plan Commission and Council, which is anticipated to take place later this Fall. Please subscribe via the homepage to receive updates on future events and project news. Lastly — we couldn’t have done it without you. Shout-out to our amazing steering committee who helped guide the process, and to every single person, resident, business owner, and voice who took part and shared as part of the Design Guidelines!

And in case you missed it…

Our last news post included some wonderful resources on the history of Historic West Des Moines. Those articles and links are included below for easy reference and reading.

If you subscribe to the Des Moines Register, an article was published on July 6th, 2022 highlighting how Historic West Des Moines came to be and the work underway to preserve and celebrate that history and legacy moving forward. Stories and quotes by residents, businesses, and Steering Committee members shine light on local history and the rich diversity of families that came together to help establish the area and make it what it is today. New housing programs and initiatives aimed at strengthening opportunities for first time homeowners and incentivizing improvements for property maintenance are also highlighted. Thanks to all who contributed to this article and for the detailed reporting by Sarah Kay LeBlanc of the Des Moines Register.

“The thing that was so special about Valley Junction is it was a place where people came from lots of different places. They came to live here and they raised families, and a lot of them worked for the railroads.”

– Vincent Valdez, HWDM Steering Committee Member
Article in the Des Moines Register

Video Resource

Iowa Files Presents: Latino Lives in Valley Junction
West Des Moines Historical Society · November 2021

Video Overview Provided by the WDM Historical Society’s Facebook Page

“Vince Valdez, a lifelong West Des Moines resident, has spent decades researching and recording the history of Latinos in Valley Junction. Many families immigrated to Iowa to work on the railroads and stayed to raise families and contributed to our rich and diverse community! Vince will share photographs and interviews he’s collected from families who’ve been living in Valley Junction for generations.”