6th Avenue Corridor Named Urban Neighborhood Main Street District

The 6th Avenue Corridor through the River Bend and Cheatom Park Neighborhoods was named one of Iowa’s first Urban Neighborhood Districts by Main Street Iowa, a program within the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED). IDED Director Mike Tramontina named the new designees at a ceremony on Monday at 2 p.m.

Earning the designation and working with Main Street Iowa is a collaboration of the River Bend and Cheatom Park neighborhood associations and local business community. An independent non-profit organization will be formed to hire a director and implement the goals outlined in the group’s application to IDED, which focused on:

* Establishing a business association along 6th Avenue.
* Planning for and implementing the 6th Ave streetscape project.
* Developing a brand identity and marketing plan for the Corridor.
* Connecting property owners with historic preservation resources.

“The City of Des Moines supports small business development and strengthening our neighborhoods. We are committed to working with the new 6th Avenue Main Street organization to revitalize the corridor and promote new business opportunities,” said Laura Graham from the City of Des Moines.

The City of Des Moines will appoint a staff member to serve on the 6th Avenue Corridor Main Street board of directors and support the organization with a $10,000 operating grant for each of the next three years. Polk County has also awarded a $10,000 Community Betterment Grant. The Neighborhood Development Corporation has donated office space and supplies. Numerous other local residents and businesses have pledged financial support to the organization. Main Street Iowa will provide $100,000 worth of technical assistance over the next three years. Fundraising efforts are on-going.

“We are excited about working with Main Street Iowa and taking the next step toward returning 6th Avenue to a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented commercial district,” said Brian Douglas, River Bend Resident.

The Corridor has experienced new business growth in recent years, including locally owned restaurants and shops. River Bend and Cheatom Park began planning for streetscape improvements last summer.

“Our neighborhoods have experienced success with our on-going efforts at housing rehabilitation. We are ready to now focus attention on the commercial heart of our communities,” said Aaron Todd, board member of the River Bend Neighborhood Association.

Main Street Iowa consultants will meet with local volunteers and tour the 6th Avenue Corridor on June 16.

Comments

Okay, I am really happy to hear this news, and am very excited that we may see some even further enhancement of the 6th Avenue corridor, but would also like to see the continuation of that landscaping on further north, say to Euclid. I think that as it is now, 6th ave becomes a dusty, trash strewn mess and is actually a detterent to the Highland/Oak Park walkability. I do not want the level of street scaping that has occurred on Fluer, but some mediums with potential flower beds would be welcome, not only for asthetics, but also as islands for those of us attempting to cross to take refuge on when crossing.
Also, I would like to find out more about the city's awning ordinance. It was advanced to me that the area of 6th and 2nd and Euclid would be a whole lot more inviting with some shade, not to mention that it would soften the look of the street to have awnings and allow for some style of cafe seating, but in talking to a local business owner, was informed that their are additional fees that would be too costly for them to do an awning, and that the fees for the sidewalk seating would not justify the profit, if any, that they would see. So the neigborhood continues to loose business, and to be uninviting.
I would suggest that if the city were serious about preserving and reinvigorating these areas that they would look at easing or elimating any such fees. Any monies made from these fees would, in my opinion, be out weighed by the increase in business and thus taxes received from allowing these business to enhance their curb appeal by adding awnings and sidewalk seating. Also, trees planted along Euclid would go along way to creating additional curb appeal and an inviting atmosphere that would help not only Riverbend, Cheatom Park, but also Highland and Oak Park. Heck, it may also do alot to assist the downtown core with increased foot traffic and business.
Again, thank you for the site, I continue to enjoy your information and news, and look forward to more.
Charles

| May 20th, 2009 at 11:05 am

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