2014 Best Development Awards Recipients

1000 Friends of Iowa is pleased to present recipients of the 2014 Best Development Awards!

New Residential: Madison Flats, Des Moines

Madison Flats, an apartment building located south of downtown Des Moines, has won 1000 Friends of Iowa’s 2014 Best Development Award in the New Residential category. Neighborhood Development Corporation (NDC), with Ask Studio, cleaned up a contaminated site to build sustainable, affordable housing and spark further developments in a blighted neighborhood with potential. Located across the river from Principal Park, the 2014 Best Development Award jurors appreciated that Madison Flats is positioned to make a “catalytic impact in the Two Rivers District, encouraging other good projects in the area,” as one juror stated.

Aspects of the Madison Flats project that support smart growth principles include:

  • Redevelopment of a brownfield site, which requires cleaning up a formerly industrial property with environmental contaminates
  • Location offering affordable housing, access to a variety of transportation options, and many amenities within walking distance
  • Use of existing infrastructure in a sustainable manner
    Building design that honors lost architecture in the area
  • Sustainable building construction that prioritizes energy efficiency, conserving natural resources and healthy indoor environment
  • Leading the way for other smart developments in a blighted neighborhood

Visit www.madisonflats.com or www.ndcdesmoines.org to learn more.

Renovated Residential: (Co-Winners) 1924 Leyner Street, Des Moines & 4818 Urbandale Avenue, Des Moines

1924 Leyner Street, Des Moines
The restored Victorian-era bungalow located at 1924 Leyner Street in Des Moines is the co-winner of 1000 Friends of Iowa’s 2014 Best Development Award in the Renovated Residential category. A project by Indigo Dawn, the dilapidated home was relocated and completely updated using multiple sustainable building practices. The house was transformed from a 750 square foot two bedroom to a beautiful 1,500 square foot home with a basement, porch and upgraded amenities. The ambitious, co-operative project revitalized a home in need, its surrounding area and its inhabitants’ future.

Just a few of 1924 Leyner Street’s smart growth aspects include:

  • Reinvestment in an existing building and neighborhood located near the city center
  • Diverse stormwater management practices
  • Energy efficient upgrades such as insulated basement floor and walls, air sealing and furnace sizing
  • Use of salvaged and recycled materials, reducing costs and strain on natural resources
  • Collaboration with others, including the neighborhood, government, local businesses and a national corporate initiative

Learn more at http://silentrivers.com/revitalize-home-redefining-renovations/.

4818 Urbandale Avenue, Des Moines
The home located at 4818 Urbandale Avenue in Des Moines is this year’s co-winner of 1000 Friends of Iowa’s Best Development Award in the Renovated Residential category. The project is a shining example of how one person’s passion can make a difference that inspires a community. Not deterred by gaping holes in the roof, a crumbling garage, and a bathtub ready to fall through the floor, David Barzen of Sterling Investments recognized that the 1920 Beaverdale Craftsman home had “good bones.” The neighborhood nuisance property is now home to a grateful family.

A list of 4818 Urbandale Avenue project accomplishments:

  • Helps reduce sprawl and protect natural areas by revitalizing an existing home that was nuisance to neighborhood
  • Overhauled plumbing, wiring, insulation, and heating and cooling system to increase energy efficiency
  • Restored character of original home with custom railings, historic tiles and replicated wood accents
  • Improves quality of life of neighborhood with efficient use of private investments
  • Inspires and empowers individuals to take responsibility for their community

New Commercial/Civic: Viking Center, Stanton

The Viking Center located in Stanton is the winner of 1000 Friends of Iowa’s 2014 Best Development Award in the New Commercial/Civic category. A strong group of Stanton residents persevered over seven years to plan, build and dedicate the City’s Viking Center, a public building featuring a preschool, library, wellness center, walking track, gymnasium, multi-purpose community room and 625-person tornado shelter. The community-led project in a town with a population of 700 attracted donations from 400 families, individuals, grants and foundations. A human chain, formed of over 400 persons, passed books from the old library to the new Viking Center. The line of school kids, senior citizens, parents, teachers and others stretched six blocks, with hands moving books from person to person. “There were many excellent nominations this year,” states Best Development Awards program director Siobhan Spain. “The depth of collaborative, community impact resulting from the Viking Center project won over the jurors and exemplifies what these awards are all about.”

Smart growth principles incorporated into the Viking Center project process include:

  • Exceptional community-led, collaborative process where residents are actively involved in the planning process
  • Creating a framework to maintain community and establish a sense of place
  • Uses an infill lot with existing utilities and infrastructure
  • Convenient access to various transportation methods
  • Heated and cooled by a geothermal system
  • Building materials, appliances, insulation, windows and fixtures performance exceed Iowa energy codes
  • Multi-use facility that serves and engages its residents in a healthy lifestyle

Learn more at www.stantonvikingcenter.com.

Renovated Commercial/Civic: Green Pilot Streetscape Project, West Union

City of West Union’s Green Pilot Streetscape Project is the winner of 1000 Friends of Iowa’s 2014 Best Development Award in the Renovated Commercial/Civic category. A RAGBRAI event motivated community members to turn a standard streetscape infrastructure project into a transformational sustainable revitalization. With a population of less than 2500, West Union established their own “first principles” for the endeavor, which prioritizes a collaborative process, sustainable community investment, a vibrant economy for Northeast Iowa, and additional goals that align with smart growth development concepts. The project has clearly inspired West Union, and those beyond Iowa’s boarders, about the possibilities small towns across the nation are able to access when pursuing smart growth initiatives as a community. The 2014 Best Development Award jurors join the many voices concurring that this is simply an amazing story.

West Union’s Streetscape Project features:

  • Porous pavers and rain gardens with the aim of capturing and retaining 95% of stormwater that falls in the downtown district
  • Protected trout streams, community water quality, local aquifers and city infrastructure resources
  • Renovations to 10 historic facades
  • 12 new 2nd-story housing units in three historic buildings
  • A district geothermal heating and cooling system providing service to 60 historic downtown buildings
  • LED street lights
  • New Civic Plaza gathering area

Find out more about Iowa’s West Union community at www.westunion.com.

Mixed Use: 421 Main Street, Slater 

City of Slater’s renovated building located at 421 Main Street is the recipient of 1000 Friends of Iowa’s 2014 Best Development Award in the Mixed Use category. Small towns across Iowa are frequently forced to deal with abandoned buildings that pose environmental, economic and safety risks to their community. In 2006, a dilapidated vacant building in Slater collapsed leaving a large clean-up bill, public safety and health concerns, and an economic development void. With the help of Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Brownfield Redevelopment Program and Derelict Building Program, Story County Economic Development and Alliant Energy, Slater turned a nuisance into an impactful opportunity. The Best Development Award jurors were enthused about the project, which acts as a beacon for other communities faced with similar challenges.

City of Slater implemented smart growth principles that included:

  • Renovating an existing building located in the heart of a city
  • Turning the building into a mixed use space that fosters diverse economic and social opportunities
  • Removing aspects that threaten health and safety of the environment, occupants and the community
  • Improving energy efficiency in building envelope, windows, insulation and systems.
  • Reducing interior demolition and new construction costs by recycling old appliances, metal and fixtures; reusing salvaged materials in updated renovation work; and inviting Habitat for
  • Humanity in to take away additional 700 pounds of materials for resale

Leadership: Woodbine Main Street District, Woodbine

Woodbine’s Main Street District is the 2014 winner of 1000 Friends of Iowa’s Best Development Award in the Leadership category. “The multifaceted, community-led project made an indelible impression on the jurors, who were quick to declare it the winner of this year’s Leadership award,” stated awards program director Siobhan Spain. Woodbine fulfilled numerous Main Street District projects in order to meet its ultimate goal of successfully serving the community another 150 years. The work began in 2007 when the western Iowa town of 1,500 residents acknowledged their downtown, comprised of three square blocks with 10 vacant and decaying buildings, must be addressed. Prioritizing collaboration, pursuing diverse funding sources and accomplishing project after project has enabled Woodbine to reap the economic and community-building benefits of revitalizing existing assets.

Here are a few examples of Woodbine Main Street District accomplishments:

  • 2008 Designated an Iowa Economic Development Authority Green Pilot Community receiving energy audits and incentive programs
  • 2009 Commissioned a Sustainable Community Master Plan
  • 2010 Received Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Downtown Revitalization Funds for Façade Master Plan ($500,000)
  • 2010 Received Main Street Iowa I-Jobs Grant for Main Street renovations, grain elevator public art project, and outdoor amphitheater ($490,000)
  • 2011 Received CDBG for six upper-story housing grayfield projects ($543,000)
  • 2012 Designated an Iowa Blue Zone Project Small Population Pilot Community
  • 2013 Designated National Register Historic District: The Woodbine Lincoln Highway and Brick Street Historic District
  • 2014 Complete 2-year Economic and Behavior Impact Study of Sustainable Community Transformations

Learn more about Woodbine Main Street, City of Woodbine and Woodbine Betterment Development Corporation at www.woodbineia.com.

Stormwater Management: Bee Branch Watershed Flood Mitigation Project’s Green Alley Program, Dubuque 

The City of Dubuque’s Green Alley Program is this year’s winner of 1000 Friends of Iowa’s Best Development Award in the Stormwater Management category. The City “keeps knocking it out of the park,” as one juror stated. The urban municipality’s ambitious 12-phase 20 -year community flood mitigation project retrofits alley infrastructure within the city’s Bee Branch Watershed with pervious pavement. By allowing stormwater to soak into the ground, Dubuque is able to reduce stormwater runoff by up to 80%, replenish the groundwater, and lessen the amount of pollutants entering the storm sewer system and ultimately the Mississippi River. Sustainability is well established within the culture of the Dubuque community and they continue to exhibit extraordinary leadership with the Green Alley Program.

The City of Dubuque’s Green Alley program:

  • Reconstructs 240 alleys with permeable surfaces over the course of the 20-year project with 23 conversions completed in 2014 and approximately 50 planned for 2015. Permeable pavement has pores or openings that allow water to pass through the surface and filter gradually into the soil below
  • Reduces stormwater runoff within the watershed by up to 80%
  • Prevents adjacent properties from flooding, recharge/replenish the groundwater, and filter soil, pollutants, and debris
  • Supports “Sustainable Dubuque” principles of Clean Water, Community Design, and Community Health & Safety
  • Researched and tested green alleys before selecting the approach for the Bee Branch Watershed project
  • Provides educational outreach in the form of informative brochures, frequently asked questions and answers, an interactive online story map, assessments, funding sources information and a financial assistance program

More information on this exciting program is available at www.cityofdubuque.org/1818/Green-Alley-Reconstruction.