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Please use the form below to provide feedback on Historic West Des Moines – consider the residential neighborhood, Valley Junction, utilization of buildings, streetscape design – the list goes on!  If imagery supports your note, be sure to include such using the ‘upload’ feature. Photos might be of an existing in-town condition or perhaps a snapshot of something in another community you’d like emulated. Scroll down below the form to view comments submitted thus far! Hit up the News page to read up on what’s been happening to date.

Project Ideas

  • Lets make WDM a little less pretty and spend money to help the poor animals in your shelter that is been waiting for so long.
  • On your map of places to be made better why are you discriminating against some that are in your circle on the map that is wrong.
  • I feel these are all great ideas!
  • The bike route on Vine is nice.
  • I would like to see the old building south of 10th & railroad being used for an indoor year round market with parking on the south side of railroad with a sky-walk/ ramp, or crossing lights to get to 5th street district. I think that this would expand the commercial aspect of Valley Junction, and help encourage year round traffic for local businesses. FYI – I never ever want to see chain stores in Valley junction, not even those that appear as small businesses, but are owned by larger corporations. Many restaurants do this, and I am seeing more and more wineries and breweries doing this.
  • Keep the street parking in VJ. Helps create the small town atmosphere.
  • Include the businesses on the side streets like Maple and Elm as well as others. When having things in the junction. Don’t block off just fifth street. Please include side streets with farmers markets and other activities. They are apart of the junction family make them feel like it.
  • A Historic Preservation Board for the City would be an invaluable asset to our community. They could provide guidance to Council on projects to limit the impacts to historical properties throughout the entire City, not just Valley Junction. With the rapid, well managed growth of the City, it is imperative that the historic sites and structures be identified and protected from detrimental impacts of such growth.
  • Increase the mixed use of Fifth Street. It would be more viable for a more diverse set of businesses if the upper levels of the historic buildings were converted or restored into apartments. There are a few, but there could be more.
  • Stop forcing out the businesses that have been with us for years – like Donut King – a community staple for 40 years! Not everything has to be new and trendy and cater to hipsters. I don’t want Valley Junction to become “Downtown 2.0”. My family likes it the way it is.
  • Just thinking about the number of free and reduced price school lunches — would there be interest in the Community Design Lab services? I’ve been somewhat involved as a volunteer with the Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit staff. They have helped the city of Cedar Rapids, and are currently working on two Des Moines projects.
  • More live music, like indie rock that millenials like.
  • There is an active Cricket organization that plays on the east side of Holiday Park – I’m guessing it’s unique to the whole DSM area. It should be played up as one of the VJ features. The alley should be paved, perhaps a small set of bleachers installed (but don’t have them block the view from the alley in case people want to drive by to see what it’s about). I find the sport interesting and different & I’m thinking others might too.
  • Utilize Phenix school. It would be a great place for meetings, community activities, indoor farmers market, etc. I would like to know if the city is still thinking about making it into apartments. Seems a waste not to use it. Why can’t the playground be used as a park?
  • More upper story rental apartments and condos would be great for the district and businesses. Upper story housing should be pursued, supported and extended financial assistance. If public utility roadblocks exist that are hindering additional upper story housing development those improvements could be included in WDM’s CIP and scheduled for completion.
  • It would be nice if we could infuse our Hillside students in the Junction. Field trips to businesses would help reinforce subjects being studied. Create an environment where our kids can take ownership of our community.
  • I’d really like to see Inspired Grounds open earlier.
  • Ice cream venue, old fashioned ice cream parlor.
  • Brand name hotel on railroad, by 5th.
  • I am the owner of Sully’s Irish Pub on 63rd and Grand. As a business that’s on the outskirts of Valley Junction, we would like to be included in more Valley Junction-related events. We are not right on 5th street, so the mis-perception is that we are not part of Valley Junction. We’d like to do some bar crawls or other events that are more inclusive of the outer areas of Valley Junction.
  • I cannot attend on Thursday, Jan. 14, but am following. My mom’s family has always been self-employed so I try to support similar Valley Junction businesses when I can — I’m not a huge consumer!
  • When you are in the area, visit and give us your chalkboard ideas! (Note: The ‘Idea Chalkboard’ will often be stationed on the sidewalk outside of the Historic Valley Junction Foundation – 137 5th Street, weather pending!)


  • VJ needs several bistro-style outdoor cafes and restaurants, a bakery, a book store, and more rooftop patios and bars. Bars and restaurants with live music always bring a crowd. I’m a huge supporter of small local business, but sometimes it takes a well known restaurant or store to draw the people initially and attract other boutiques. Fountains also would be a unique to DM feature similar to KC.