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Reconsider the Hy-Vee/Knapp Project on Court Avenue

This petition had 1,111 supporters

Save Our Historic District

The Court Avenue Entertainment District is the heart of downtown Des Moines, filled with thriving independent restaurants and bars, and home to the Science Center and a world class farmers’ market. It was the first success story when city leaders worked to establish distinct districts and bring about the community’s rebirth after the floods of 1993.

That is why we oppose the Des Moines City Council’s decision to place a retail suburban grocery store — even one as fantastic as Hy-Vee — dead center in the middle of the Court Ave. District. As a community, we have taken so few missteps on our road to reinventing downtown, it is hard to believe that this is where we will fall off the rails.

Exacerbating this affront to the independent businesses who have invested years of resource into developing the entertainment district is the fact that the city has simultaneously threatened to make parking downtown more difficult—first eliminating the requirement that the Knapp/Hy-Vee project include a 250-stall public parking garage and second by recommending the parking garage between Court Avenue and Walnut Street be torn down.  There is no plan to rebuild a new garage—only a hope. No developer has been identified. No plans are drawn. No bids requested. The city conducted their own survey of parking one weekend in September… one of the slowest times of the year, and concluded there is “adequate parking”. This was inadequate. A survey of this magnitude should have covered a minimum of a six month period as one weekend doesn’t constitute a credible study.

These two parking changes in tandem with the introduction of a big-box grocery retailer into the city's trendiest entertainment district will be Court Avenue's dismantling. We are asking that the city put the brakes on the Knapp/Hy-Vee project on Court Ave. Again, we are not opposed to Hy-Vee itself—just Hy-Vee there. Many of us live downtown and would be thrilled to have access to such a store. But why not rethink this plan and look closer at locations two blocks south on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway where there is vast open space in need of such development?

The moment we relinquish the look and feel of one of our few downtown entertainment districts is the moment we've given up that which we strived for in the first place—a culture and character unique to downtown and its historic Court Ave. District.

Please sign our petition and help us convince the city to reconsider this plan. Otherwise, the Historic Court Avenue District as we know it will not survive these changes.

Thank you.



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