Category Archives: Updates

6th Avenue Corridor MultiCultural Market

6AC_MultiCultural_Market_Just Logo 6th Avenue Corridor has launched an exciting new initiative - a MultiCultural Market! In 2015, the Market will run from August to November and will reopen in May of 2016 as a weekly or bi-weekly event. The MultiCultural Market features a diverse array of ethnic and multicultural products - textiles, artisan goods, food, and more! (Products will vary based on vendor availability.) The MultiCultural Market will be open the first Sunday of each month (August 2, September 6, October 4, November 1) at the grassy lot on the southwest corner of the intersection of 6th Avenue and Washington Avenue. As part of 6th Avenue Corridor's core mission to support business development within the area, this Market will allow emerging entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop their businesses and customer base. We also hope it will provide a fun place for residents and visitors to gather on a Sunday afternoon - creating connections, celebrating the growing multiculturalism of Des Moines, and showcasing all the wonderful assets of the 6th Avenue Corridor district. The cost to be a vendor is only $20 per Market and a table and 2 chairs will be provided to each vendor (if desired). We require no vendor insurance as our organization has secured a special policy that covers vendors. For questions about the MultiCultural Market, please call 515-314-4243 or email If you'd like to join the planning committee, we'd welcome your input and ideas!  

Jazz in July 2015 – Join us on July 25!

Join us July 25th, 2015 as Jazz in July returns to 6th Avenue! 10479232_10153103533139012_8767693103427673470_n 6th Avenue Corridor’s Jazz in July showcases terrific bands, performances by local community groups, delicious food, a beverage tent, and kid's activities to entertain the whole family! Join us for a full day of fun and see all the exciting changes taking place on the north side of Des Moines! Best of all, IT'S FREE!!!   FEATURING: The New Bodies (3:00-4:00pm) Metro Mix Dancers (4:00-4:30pm) It's Complicated (4:30-6:00pm) Metro Mix Dancers (4:00-4:30pm) Damani Philips Trio featuring Sam Salamone (6:30-8:00pm) The Tarakis (8:30-10:00pm) WHAT TO BRING: Friends and family Lawn chairs or a blanket Sunscreen and/or bug spray Cash (We do not have an ATM on site, unfortunately) PARKING: Sixth Avenue will be closed to through traffic.  There is plenty of parking available on our side streets.  You can also park in the NFC parking lot (1912 6th Ave.) or at Moulton Elementary School (1541 8th St.)

Main Street Iowa Recognizes Outstanding Achievements by 6th Avenue Corridor

10648673_10153904175974012_8666872295135330101_o The annual Main Street Iowa Awards was held on Friday, May 1, 2015 at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center (Iowa Events Center) in downtown Des Moines. The event to recognize local Main Street projects, activities and volunteers was attended by more than 500 individuals representing communities across the state. Competitive nominations were submitted for 107 projects and activities within the five categories of design, economic restructuring, organization, promotion and overall program. Twenty-one projects received winner awards recognition and nine received honorable mention. 6th Avenue Corridor received the following state awards and special recognitions: Business Start-Up Success Story - C Fresh Market, Image Campaign - Litter Letter Project, Volunteer of the Year - Jason Harmer. The honors were presented by Governor Terry E. Branstad and Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). In addition to the competitive nominations, individuals, couples or co-chairs representing the 52 Main Street programs were recognized for their outstanding dedication and volunteer service. The program directors accompanied their volunteers on stage as they received their certificates. “In my 1985 Condition of the State address to the Iowa Legislature, I proposed finding the funds to create Main Street Iowa,” stated Governor Branstad. “We knew from the very beginning that Main Street was not a quick-fix solution, but rather an incremental approach to fostering positive change. In my travels across the state, I have seen the program at work in small towns, mid–size cities, urban centers and neighborhood commercial districts. It has had far greater impact than we ever could have imagined in 1985.” Of the awards, interim Executive Director Breann Bye remarked, "We're incredibly proud that the efforts of our businesses and volunteers have been recognized at a state-wide level. All of us involved with 6th Avenue Corridor feel the energy and momentum that has taken hold in our Urban Main Street District, and we were pleased to celebrate our accomplishments with other Iowans dedicated to improving their communities." 10646979_10153904176679012_2508781121972602453_n  11188171_10153904176729012_3747921635895408034_n  11203135_10153904175979012_6722779266539238252_n   10357812_10153904176404012_4833100358735608205_n

6th Avenue Corridor Welcomes new Interim Executive Director

March 25, 2015 The 6th Avenue Corridor Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Breann Bye as the interim Executive Director of the organization effective April 1st. Bye replaces the current director, Laura Peters, who recently announced her resignation. Peters has accepted a position as Assistant Planner with the City of Des Moines’ Neighborhood Development Department and will continue to work closely with partners and stakeholders in the area in her new role. 293531_10150872354060648_1534299834_nBye brings to 6th Avenue Corridor a strong background in community planning, project management, public facilitation, architecture, and graphic design. For the past four years Bye has served clients across the country and in Iowa as a professional planning consultant and President of Breann Bye + Associates. After graduating with dual master’s degrees from Iowa State University in Community and Regional Planning and Architecture, Bye and her family moved to a historic home on 6th Avenue. Bye immediately became an active volunteer for 6th Avenue Corridor and the River Bend Neighborhood Association. “Out of all the places in the country we could have moved, we chose 6th Avenue and Des Moines as our home. The energy and enthusiasm for this area of Des Moines was evident and infectious. I am deeply honored to be selected as the interim Executive Director for 6th Avenue Corridor and look forward to utilizing my professional skills and talents in service of such an incredible organization.” Bye steps into the Executive Director role at a pivotal time for the 6th Avenue Corridor. The Corridor was recently designated an Iowa Great Place by the Department of Cultural Affairs and awarded a $250,000 challenge grant for the 6th Avenue Streetscape Project. The project will implement much-needed safety and design improvements in the corridor. On March 23, the Des Moines City Council demonstrated further commitment to the corridor through its pledge of $150,000 for the acquisition and potential demolition of blighted buildings along 6th Avenue. Bye will also work to continue the organization’s support of existing businesses in the district and its efforts to attract new businesses and development to the corridor. 6th Avenue Corridor envisions a dynamic commercial and residential environment which embraces the rich diversity of the area. Aaron Todd, 6th Avenue Corridor Board President, commended the Board’s decision in selecting Bye as the new Executive Director. “Breann brings the right mix of skills that we need to maintain our positive momentum. Breann’s skills and passion will be vital assets as we continue to work with existing partners and reach out to new ones.” Further commenting on the leadership transition, Todd stated, “Our organization is incredibly grateful for Laura Peter’s leadership over the past few years and we look forward to working with her a new capacity. This is an exciting time for 6th Avenue Corridor.” Breann Bye, Bio Bye is a 2003 graduate of Smith College in Massachusetts and also earned dual master’s degrees from Iowa State University in Community and Regional Planning and Architecture in 2009. Bye is a native of central Iowa and has lived in River Bend for four years with her husband and two children. Bye has volunteered her time for a number of organizations including the 6th Avenue Corridor, the River Bend Neighborhood Association, the City of Des Moines Historic Preservation Commission, and the Mayor’s Task Force on Demolition Permits and Historic Preservation.

6th Avenue Corridor Designated an Iowa Great Place!

In January of 2015, 6th Avenue Corridor was designated an official "Iowa Great Place" by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. The designation accompanies a $250,000 Challenge Grant and supports the planned streetscape improvements and redevelopment efforts in the one mile stretch from I-235 to the Des Moines River. “The City of Des Moines is excited to have the 6th Avenue Corridor designated as an Iowa Great Place,” said City Planner Kyle Larson, noting that this is the first time a City district has been recognized with the designation. “This project brought together a host of partners at the local, regional, state, and federal levels and once implemented will serve as a model neighborhood revitalization catalyst project.” “The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs commends the City of Des Moines and the 6th Avenue Corridor for their joint efforts to build and sustain more culturally vibrant neighborhoods,” Iowa Great Places Program Coordinator David Schmitz stated. “This streetscape and public art project recognizes the diversity and historic character of the 6 th Avenue Corridor as authentic local assets and lays the groundwork for future local and private investment.” Construction of the improvements remains a few years out, as City engineers are moving forward with detailed construction plans. The grant provides for a three-year funding window. 10926444_10153647061414012_5271408123459716093_n 10978486_10153655963964012_4932539229081378164_n 10469931_10153647055994012_749285660613304984_n 10410115_10153647058434012_8519930220559543766_n   Additional photos of the celebratory Open House can be view on our Facebook page (  

Litter Letter Project Turns Trash into Art, Makes Statement for Revitalization and Sustainability

Two unique pieces of art are now on display on and around 6th Avenue, beautifying the corridor and surrounding neighborhood in more ways than one. Litter Letter01Frustrated by the appearance of litter in the neighborhood, Laura Peters, Executive Director of the 6th Avenue Corridor, Inc., decided it was time to address the issue.  While researching anti-litter strategies online, she came across the Litter Letter Project, conceived by a graphic artist in Louisiana.  The project features thought-provoking words constructed of rebar and chicken wire, filled with litter. “I knew immediately that we needed to replicate this project here on 6th Avenue,” Peters stated. “These words carry a dual message for environmental sustainability and community revitalization. My hope is that people will reflect on their meaning, and feel inspired to take action.  It’s about building awareness AND pride in our community.”Litter Letter04 The 6th Avenue Corridor partnered with Moulton Extended Learning Center and Children and Family Urban Movement (CFUM) to create the word “HOPE”. Martha McCormick, an educational consultant with Keep Iowa Beautiful, guided youth from CFUM through a process to develop and determine their word. “The kids were amazed at how much litter they picked up on their first sweep of the neighborhood. They are pretty excited about the leadership role they’re playing in this project. I think they’ll make a real difference in the neighborhood.” On April 22nd (Earth Day), youth of CFUM and Moulton Extended Learning Center Litter Letter05conducted a neighborhood clean-up in the area surrounding their school.  That afternoon, each Moulton student assisted with the filling of “THINK” during Moulton’s Earth Day Garden Party. (Their word “HOPE” wasn’t quite ready yet).  On Saturday, April 26th, community members conducted a neighborhood clean-up focusing on remaining areas around 6th Avenue.  Twenty-six volunteers picked up approximately 95 bags of litter.  After a picnic, together the group filled the word “HOPE”. “THINK” is now on display in a highly-visible, vacant lot at 6th & Forest.  “HOPE” has been placed in a garden at the corner of 9th & College.  Both words will be on display indefinitely, perhaps being refilled and moved to other locations on the corridor. The 6th Avenue Corridor would like to thank all of the supporters for the project: Steve Murga (Artist/Fabricator) Metro Waste Authority Keep Iowa Beautiful Martha McCormick Metro Arts Alliance Green Arts Program Andrea Hauer Mike Hildebrand Laura Graham Breanne Barnum Links to the THINK and HOPE albums are available on our Facebook page.

Reminders for the Neighborhood Cleanup and Picnic this Saturday

Hi Everyone! Thank you to those participating in the 6th Avenue Corridor Neighborhood Cleanup and Picnic! We're excited you chose to spend your morning with us and we hope the following information will help to prepare you for Saturday. 1. Please join us in the parking lot of the Salvation Army (1330 6th Avenue) to sign in and pick up your gear for the day. On-street parking is available along 6th and Forest Avenues. 2. We will provide non-latex gloves. However, we encourage you to bring an extra set of work gloves if you would like. 3. Also feel free to bring a bag of litter with you, if you wish. After our Earth Day event at Moulton, we realize we will need A LOT of litter! (Not all of will be suitable for going inside the Litter Letters). 4. Wear comfortable shoes and attire . The areas where we will be picking up trash will be along sidewalks, alleys, and in neighboring parks/wooded areas. Some areas may be muddy and wet. 5. Don't forget your sunscreen! 6. If you run out of bags or need assistance, contact Laura Peters at 314-4243, and she will provide you with additional materials. 7. At noon, when we are done picking up trash, we will return to the parking lot and have a picnic. After we eat, we will fill the word "HOPE" and celebrate our success! The weather looks to be perfect, and we are looking forward to a terrific day with friends and neighbors. See you Saturday!

Celebrate Earth Day with the 6th Avenue Corridor!

We know that littering is an issue in all of our neighborhoods, and the 6th Avenue Corridor district is no exception! Help us celebrate Earth Day by picking up litter around 6th Avenue and the River Bend neighborhood! The litter collected will be used to create a public art installation on 6th Avenue - we are bringing the Litter Letter Project to Iowa and creating the word "THINK"! Join us on Saturday, April 26th, from 10am - noon for the clean-up. Afterwards, we will be hosting a free picnic lunch to show our appreciation! Please RSVP through this Eventbrite link to help us plan for food. More information is also posted on Eventbrite about where to meet and what to bring! Earlier in the week, students from Children and Family Urban Movement (CFUM) and Moulton Extended Learning Center will be picking up litter in their area, and filling the word "HOPE" during Moulton's Earth Day Garden Party on April 22nd. A representative from Keep Iowa Beautiful worked with the youth at CFUM, who ultimately decided "HOPE" was their perfect word! Interested in supporting the project but unable to attend the clean-up? We are planning to install a third word, "CARE", this summer before our Jazz in July event. The 6th Avenue Corridor is looking to fundraise an additional $1,000 to fabricate "CARE". Donations can be made through this secure PayPal link. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, all contributions are fully tax-deductible. THANK YOU to our generous sponsors: Metro Waste Authority, Metro Arts Alliance, Andrea Hauer, Martha McCormick, and CFUM donors! More information about the Litter Letter Project can be found on their website.

2013 Year in Review

As we bring the year to a close, the 6th Avenue Corridor would like to take a moment to celebrate our many accomplishments in 2013. In our fourth year as a Main Street Iowa Urban Neighborhood Program, we continued to make significant progress in our efforts to revitalize the 6th Avenue Corridor commercial district. During 2013, the 6th Avenue Corridor…
  • Celebrated the grand opening of C-Fresh Market, which brought much needed fresh foods AND new jobs to our district.
  • Coordinated with the City of Des Moines and the EPA in the development of the Greening America’s Capitals program. With the public’s input, a team of designers offered strategies to incorporate green infrastructure and sustainable design initiatives into our revitalization plans.
  • Installed new street banners to beautify corridor.
  • Hosted our most successful Jazz in July yet, with great music, delicious ethnic foods, and a diverse crowd estimated at nearly 1,500 people.
  • Published the organization in Iowa Architect Magazine, which has a reach of over 10,000 design professionals throughout the state.
  • Advocated for the new Quik Trip store’s site plan approval with the City of Des Moines Zoning Board of Adjustment.
  • Provided support to Hatch Development Group in their efforts to bring $8.6 million in quality affordable housing development to 6th Avenue.
  • Administered a $50,000 Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant, to assist Trinity Church in the construction of a chair lift that will allow people with disabilities to attend a variety of events held daily at the church.
  • Received an additional $75,000 Main Street Challenge Grant to further assist Trinity Church in the next phase of their renovation work – remodeling the outdated kitchen so that free nightly suppers offered to the community can continue.
  • Strategized opportunities for commercial redevelopment of vacant buildings by hiring a team of architects to complete a Revitalization Study at 6th & College Avenues.
Of course, our work is far from complete. Looking ahead to 2014, the 6th Avenue Corridor has exciting plans to:
  • Launch a quarterly newsletter -- The Connector -- to share information, connect resources, and promote business development along 6th Avenue.
  • Encourage healthy communities through social events such as a 6AC night at Brenton Skating Plaza, a Zumbathon, and perhaps even a costumed fun run down 6th Avenue.
  • Enhance the appearance of 6th Avenue through a number of beautification efforts, including neighborhood clean-ups and a Litter Letter campaign.
  • Coordinate the work of the City, designers, and engineers as we take steps towards implementation of our streetscape improvements.
  • Install a mural and coordinate other public art and place-making efforts to bring a renewed sense of vibrancy to the district.
  • Recruit new businesses and retailers to 6th Avenue, and help bring stability to those currently located here.
  • Promote the benefits of Historic Preservation, in both commercial and residential structures.
  • Host new cultural events, in addition to Jazz in July, to celebrate our rich diversity and promote 6th Avenue as a safe, friendly, up-and-coming district.
Interested in helping us move forward in these efforts? The 6th Avenue Corridor is always looking for volunteers. Whether you want to join a steering committee, offer expertise to a specific task, or just plug an idea, we’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to contact our Director at 314-4243, or at

New Housing Developments Proposed for 6th Avenue

Hatch Development Group is proposing two new affordable housing developments on 6th Avenue. Collectively referred to as the “6th Avenue Brownstones”, these developments would infill two prominent vacant lots in the corridor – one at 6th & Forest, and the other at 6th & Indiana (just north of University, immediately north of McDonalds). Shown here is the proposed development at 6th & Indiana. Each story of these four-story rowhomes is a separate 1,100 s.f. unit, for a total of 16 units on site. A brickstone development, similar to that on Martin Luther King Parkway, is proposed for Forest Ave. Hatch Development Group hopes to submit the project for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding in summer 2014.
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