August 5, 2013
St. Augustin Church
545 42nd Street
Des Moines, IA 50312
Dear Rev. Chris Hartshorn,
The mission of the North of Grand (NOG) Neighborhood Association is to ensure that existing and projected infrastructure systems are managed or developed so they enhance the physical, visual and spatial qualities of the neighborhood — promoting a healthy climate for area businesses, and public and private properties.
Aligned with our mission is our goal to strengthen communication between neighborhood institutions, business and residents. As you are aware, the NOG Board of Directors is concerned about the proposal by St. Augustin Catholic Church to demolish two properties at 40th and Grand which are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Greenwood Parks Plat Historic District.
The North of Grand neighborhood prides itself on its history and has taken active steps to educate its residents about the richness of the past that surrounds them. The NOG Board has organized popular and well-attended architectural walking, biking and trolley tours and a traveling photo exhibition of historic photographs to highlight these assets and place them into the 21st century perspective. We have a keen understanding of what our neighborhood has become over 125 years: a safe, affordable, historic neighborhood in close proximity to shopping, dining, mass transportation, quality schools and churches.
Please allow this letter to serve as a vehicle to open up communication and conversation regarding the properties at 40th/Grand Ave. Our two organizations successfully worked together in the expansion of St Augustin’s parking lot in 1999. At that time we felt the level of communication would stay consistent and not waver as our two organizations are dedicated to the same vision – the future of this neighborhood.
Additionally, since these properties are located within a National Historic District, the NOG Board serves as a resource and advisory body regarding historic and other economic development incentives that may affect the properties within the neighborhood.
Thank you for your time. We look forward to your response and welcome the opportunity to continue a dialogue with the City of Des Moines and St. Augustin Catholic Church.
Kimberly Hansen, NOG president