NOG Receives Grant to Study Historic “Center-Soll”

The North of Grand (NOG) neighborhood in Des Moines will continue researching its historic significance thanks in part to a $5,900 grant from the State Historical Society of Iowa.

Homes like this one at 695 37th St. will be included in the study of a potential new historic district. This photo was taken in 1944.

In partnership with the City of Des Moines, NOG will hire a professional architectural historian to identify significant historic properties and, with the help of volunteers, collect photos, census records, maps, building permits or property transaction records related to Center-Soll.

“Our long-term goal is to determine whether there is a historic district in this section of North of Grand. Besides honoring this area’s history, this project may trigger financial incentives if property owners choose to rehabilitate historic buildings,” said Colleen Kinney, incoming board president of North of Grand. “It is another economic development option for one of Iowa’s most vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods.”

In April 2013, North of Grand partnered with the city of Des Moines, Polk County Community Betterment Grant program, SHSI-HRDP grant program and others to list the Greenwood Park Plats Historic District (39th to 42nd, Grand Ave. to I-235) on the National Register of Historic Places.  In 2000, the Middlesex National Historic District (31st to 35th, Woodland to Pleasant) was also listed on the National Register.

Center-Soll existed before cities had neighborhood associations, and was recognized in a 1924 Better Homes & Gardens article entitled, “Getting Neighborliness in Your Neighborhood.” With the help of volunteers, the search is now on to discover more about this era with the hopes of having it listed as the third National Historic District within the North of Grand neighborhood.

Work will begin in March 2014 and be completed by June, 2015. For more information, contact Colleen Kinney at (515) 664-9183, visit our Facebook page,


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Meeting to Discuss ClearChannel Outdoor Billboard

**THIS MEETING HAS BEEN CANCELLED. Clear Channel has withdrawn their request at this time – so this meeting has been cancelled. The NOG Board of Directors will keep you informed of any additional information we receive. Clear Channel still holds the permit to install in the current location, although they have not confirmed that this is their intention. Please pass on this cancellation information on to others who may have planned to attend. Thank you.**

Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013
7-8 p.m.
Grand Suites, 3801 Grand Avenue, Des Moines

The North of Grand Neighborhood Association invites residents to a special meeting regarding the proposed new electronic billboard and its location close to I-235 and 42nd Street. We will have Jason Pomrenke with Clear Channel and Erik Lundy with the City of Des Moines there to speak. If you would like to hear more about the electronic billboard and its proposed location, please plan to attend – your input is important. This item is on the Planning and Zoning Agenda for Thursday Dec. 5, 6 pm.

Staff Recommendation
Des Moines Playhouse PUD Conceptual Master Plan
Drawings / Rendering of proposed Clear Channel Outdoor Electronic Billboard

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NOG Annual Meeting Nov. 12

The North of Grand Neighborhood will hold its Annual Meeting Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, beginning at 7 p.m. at Grand Suites, 3801 Grand Avenue.

Ted Irvine, owner of The Mansion and member of Des Moines Plan & Zoning, will be the guest speaker. Ted will give us an update of the Ingersoll-Grand Commercial Urban Renewal Plan.

Also, please join us to cast your vote for 2014 board members. These seats are open:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Treasurer
  • At-Large (3 positions)

If you are interested in serving on the board of directors, please contact board member Matt Coen, Nominations will also be accepted at the meeting. All terms are two years and begin Jan. 1, 2014.

It is with gratitude that we recognized the long-serving, out-going North of Grand board members who have made a tremendous difference in organizing and promoting our events in the neighborhood related to crime prevention, BridgePark, beautification / clean up / SCRUB, garage sales, annual picnic, historical research, economic development, Ingersoll Ave. improvements and fund raising: Kimberly Hansen, Ben Molloy, Mark Siegfried, Matt Braafhart, Matt Coen and Nathan DeCock. Thank you to them for dedicating their time for the betterment of our neighborhood!

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Proposed Change to Ingersoll Properties Sparks Action

The Oct. 17 meeting of the DM Plan & Zoning Commission included this on its agenda:

“Request from Lee Family Properties LLC (owner) represented by Andy Lee (officer) for review and approval of a Site Plan under design guidelines in NPC Districts on property located at 3701 Ingersoll Avenue, to allow revision to off-street parking configuration and landscaping.”

See the proposed site plan

In response, the North of Grand Board of Directors drafted the following letter, which was read before P&Z Oct. 17:

The Board of Directors for the North of Grand Neighborhood Association has reviewed the site plan as well as the City staff recommendations for the properties located at 3701-3711 Ingersoll Ave.  Pursuant to our review and discussion, we offer the following comments:


  • Streetscaping as proposed by City Staff.
  • Adherence to NPC guidelines.
  • That the project be contingent on timeline / deadline and performance bonding.
  • The removal of the pole/sign bases at SE and SW corners of site.


  • The proposed 6′ easement on residential property to north in lieu of 10’ parking setback.
  • Any removal of trees on the adjacent property to the north.
  • 4 on-street parking spaces on west side of 37th Street (currently no parking).
  • Any reduction in minimum parking requirements.

Numerous infractions and unfulfilled agreements have been associated with these properties over the last months and years.  In this case, the Neighborhood believes past behavior is a reasonable indicator of future behavior.  We have little confidence that the site plan requirements will be completed in a timely and satisfactory manner, if at all.

Therefore, it is the position of our board, that the proposed site plan meet, or exceed, all minimum requirements, as well as the requirements recommended by City Staff.


Kimberly Hansen, President
North of Grand Neighborhood Association

The Commission deferred the item until its Nov. 7 meeting, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 400 Robert D. Ray Drive. You can view the agenda and meeting minutes here:

We encourage any and all Ingersoll business owners and residents who wish to speak to this issue to please plan to attend the Nov. 7 meeting and voice your opinion.



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Upcoming October 2013 Events

::: Join our Facebook page to keep up with all current neighborhood events!! :::

I-235 Clean Up Oct. 12
FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF and help your neighborhood shine this Saturday by helping us out with the I-235 clean up. Our neighborhood shares its boundary with the freeway between 42nd and 31st Streets and it is our responsibility to help keep it clear of trash and debris. Join us for a few hours of exercise and neighborliness Oct. 12 from 8-10 a.m.; Volunteers will meet at 7:50 AM behind the Fire station at 42nd and  Pleasant. There will be bagels and coffee before we start. The clean up will take about 2 hours. Dress for the weather, wear work clothes and be prepared for tall wet grass. All  ages above 14 are welcome. Sign up by contacting Ben Molloy,

Meet & Greet Reception Oct. 14
Stop by Caribou Coffee Ingersoll after work to meet members of the North of Grand Neighborhood Association Board of Directors. If you are interested in learning more about board opportunities, or just want to know what’s happening in your neighborhood, drop in any time between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14. This is a casual get together – everyone is invited!

Historic Home Walking Tour Oct. 20
Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013
2 PM, start at 736 37th St.
In November, 1924, Better Homes & Gardens published an article entitled, “Getting Neighborliness in your Neighborhood,” featuring the early formation of the “Center-Soll” neighborhood, from roughly 36th-38th streets; Center Street to Ingersoll Ave. Architect Tom Wollan will lead a 1.5 mile-long route through “Center-Soll,” in which participants will veiw the exteriors of several residential architectural styles, including significant bungalows, and well-known establishments like Tanglefoot Cottage, Ingersoll Theater and Bauder Pharmacy. The tour will end with an open house celebrating the 100th birthday of the home of Tom and Pat Wollan, 638 39th St. from 3:30-5 p.m. The event is supported in part by the Polk County Community Betterment Grant program. Wear comfortable shoes. Rain or shine. On-street parking. Event is free and open to the public. Call Colleen Kinney, (515) 664-9183 with any questions or

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