Since 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has picked five cities each year for its Greening America's Capitals project. On this year’s list? Des Moines.
The project will focus on revitalizing the 6th Avenue Corridor in downtown Des Moines. The idea is to make the corridor friendlier to pedestrians, with wider sidewalks, improved lightning and larger bus stop shelters.
The corridor also connects the city to the Des Moines River. The plan calls for street trees, permeable pavement, and rain gardens to collect dirty runoff and help prevent river pollution.
Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie says with local and now federal help, the city is well on its way to redeveloping the area. He says the project will also serve as a model for other parts of the state.
“We are looking at the capitol right there. We have all these legislators and elected people coming in from around the state, and they are coming into the capital city,” he says. “What a better place to show them the vision we have for the future of cities all across Iowa.”
Cownie says he is a depending on government funds as well as public-private partnerships to fund the project. Public meetings to discuss the next steps could be held as early as February.