KANSAS CITY, KAN. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected Des Moines, Iowa, to receive technical assistance for green infrastructure design under its Greening America’s Capitals Program. The benefits for Iowa’s capital city will include wider sidewalks, narrower traffic lanes, better lighting, improved bus stop shelters, permeable pavement, and rain gardens that can minimize stormwater runoff.

“This project will help revitalize an area of Des Moines that has been a focus of local investment, spurring economic and social benefits in Iowa’s capital city,” said Karl Brooks, EPA regional administrator. “We hope to inspire government and community leaders to expand this work elsewhere in Iowa.”

The focus of the project is a proposed streetscape plan for a one-mile segment of Sixth Avenue. The Sixth Avenue Corridor serves as the northern gateway to the city’s downtown, and is an official Main Street Iowa Urban Neighborhood District and has direct access to the Des Moines River. The city plans to use the Sixth Avenue project to guide designs for other planned streetscape improvements throughout the community.

A team of designers and landscape architects that specialize in green infrastructure approaches will produce schematic designs and illustrations during a three-day design workshop that will take place in Des Moines later this year or early next year. Additionally, this project could be the testing ground for city actions, such as changes to local codes and ordinances to better support sustainable growth and green building.