Volunteers and Community Transform City Blocks

Urban-design experts know downtown vitality is critical to a city’s success, and Des Moines will take up the challenge next week when a block of East Grand Avenue gets a temporary makeover. 

The block between East Fifth and Sixth streets already is home to restaurants and retail shopping, but many believe it could be a model for what an ideal city block could look like. Jeremy Barewin, associate state director with AARP Iowa, says the “pop-up” project from next Monday through Thursday is meant to beautify the block with planters and trees and create a more age-friendly, active stretch of street.

East Grand Avenue is bookended by the Iowa State Capitol and the Des Moines River. The temporary makeover is a project of AARP Iowa, the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the City of Des Moines along with local businesses. Volunteers will begin working on the project Monday with an unveiling planned for Thursday.

The makeover project will complement the Connect Downtown pilot project already in place on East Grand between Second and Seventh streets. Barewin says the temporary makeover is part of ARRP’s livability mission.

This is the fifth project that AARP and Team Better Block have partnered on. Barewin encourages volunteers to get involved. 

Individuals or groups can register or learn more by emailing ceastman@aarp.org.