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Ingersoll Avenue improvement plan moves ahead


The Des Moines City Council received the Ingersoll Avenue Improvement Plan earlier this month and referred it to City Manager Eric Anderson’s office for a recommendation, the latest step in a long effort to revamp the retail and housing area just west of downtown.

“The neighborhood has been talking about this since 1997,” said Matt Meline, a Wells Fargo & Co. investment adviser who is serving his third term as president of the Ingersoll Area Association.

After several public meetings, design work by RDG Planning & Design and input from Jason Van Essen, a neighborhood planner for the city, the IAA is focusing on a pilot project in the portion of Ingersoll Avenue between 28th Street and 31st Street.

The overall plan covers the corridor from 17th Street to 42nd Street, and implementation is expected to stretch over a number of years.

Key steps in both the total plan and the pilot project include streetscaping with trees and flower beds, installing pedestrian-actuated mid-block traffic signals, improving and expanding parking by modifying existing lots and adding on-street angle spaces, and the addition of public art or sculpture at designated spots.

Specific redevelopment plans include:

• Developing the Meadow Gold Dairy site on the south side of Ingersoll between 17th and 18th streets for residential, retail and office uses.

• Developing residential, retail and office uses on the northeast corner of Ingersoll and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.

• Developing residential, retail and office uses on the former auto dealership site on the north side of Ingersoll and west of Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.

• Constructing a new Dahl’s grocery store immediately north of the existing store at 35th and Ingersoll.

“We’re consulting with other neighborhoods that are working on revitalization – the East Village, Beaverdale, Highland Park and Fleur Drive – but we’re creating our own vision,” Meline said.

The IAA is in the midst of discussing with those other groups how renovation of the Ingersoll corridor could drive commerce. “We see this as a way of improving business so Ingersoll Avenue becomes more a destination than a thoroughfare,” Meline said.

It’s expected that a combination of federal transportation grants, city funds and money raised by the community will pay for the project. The total cost has yet to be established.

“There might be things within the plan that the city can take on within a year or two,” Van Essen said. “For other parts, it will take a few years to put the funding pieces together.

“If we do streetscape improvement, there are going to be ongoing maintenance costs. If the property owners aren’t willing to help do the maintenance or help pay for it, we might not be able to do as much in the way of streetscape projects.”

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