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Bikers analysis the newly-painted bike lanes forth East Grand Avenue.(Photo: AARP/Special to the Register)

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One block in Des Moines’ East Village got a makeover this week, and a few association groups and businesses showed it off Thursday night. 

The activity was allotment of the Build a Bigger Block initiative, said Brad Anderson, accompaniment administrator for AARP. Volunteers began painting, amalgam and transforming the block of East Grand Ave. between East Fifth and East Sixth Streets.

The assignment will culminate in a award acid at 5:30 p.m. Thursday alfresco Raygun, at 505 E. Grand Ave. 

Volunteers assignment to briefly transform East Grand Avenue in the East Village amid Fifth and Sixth Streets as allotment of the Build a Bigger Block project. (Photo: AARP/Special to the Register)

The assignment for Build a Bigger Block began in 2012, Anderson said. AARP has been alive on a plan with the burghal to accomplish Des Moines a friendlier city for those 55 and older. 

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The ambition is to accomplish streets added walkable, bike-friendly and inviting. 

“People appetite to attending at their streets as not aloof a way to get from point A to point B,” Anderson said. “It needs to be a abode to breadth they can work, play and adhere out and ultimately, safely get to from point A to point B.”

Temporary planters add added visually-appealing aegis for the bike lanes. Volunteers congenital the planters beforehand this anniversary afore the Thursday-night award cutting. (Photo: AARP/Special to the Register)

The abstraction is that burghal streets and sidewalks should be added of a destination — if it is easier for association and visitors to airing or ride through an area, they will appointment added frequently. If the streets and sidewalks are visually ambrosial and inviting, they’ll stop and absorb added time in the breadth and in breadth businesses, Anderson said. 

“AARP is absolutely focused on ‘how do we accomplish streets added walkable and accessible for everyone,’ but a allotment of that is the 50-plus community,” he said. “All of that leads to a bigger affection life.”

Just a few weeks ago, AARP presented their affairs to the Des Moines Burghal Council. That kicked off a affiliation with the city, AARP, Greater Des Moines Affiliation and businesses in the East Village. 

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On Monday, added than 20 volunteers began alive nights to transform the block on East Grand Ave., which was called because breadth business owners and the Greater Des Moines Affiliation absitively to collaborate. 

A mural rests adjoin the ancillary of a architecture on East Grand Avenue. Volunteers began painting, amalgam and transforming the block of East Grand Ave. amid East Fifth and East Sixth Streets on Monday, July 16. (Photo: AARP/Special to the Register)

Instead of the artificial protectors on the ancillary of bike lanes, volunteers complete board planters to apartment bikers from traffic. They corrective benches and adorned bike lanes in active colors. A mural will be set adjoin the American Plumbing Supply business. New signs and cord lights were afraid for Thursday’s award cutting. 

“A lot of bodies are absorbed in how we can abide to accomplish the East Village a destination,” Anderson said. “It’s not aloof allocution about what we appetite to do with our streets but appearance it in a actual vibrant, arresting way. Anyone can airing and say this is absolutely what we appetite to do.”

But the changes are temporary, Anderson said. The planters and acrylic are not athletic or able abundant to aftermost best than a few weeks. The abstraction is to appearance visitors and the burghal what could be. Additionally, leaders in added communities beyond the accompaniment could carbon the work. 

“When treatments like this are activated to streets, bread-and-butter development follows,” said Meg Schneider of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “We accept apparent this appear on Ingersoll Avenue. It is the neighbors who adulation their association who can accomplish this appear on a added abiding basis.”

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AARP Accompaniment Administrator Brad Anderson addresses the army at the Bigger Block award cutting. (Photo: AARP/Special to the Register)

For Des Moines, Anderson said he hopes the activity could access the way bounded leaders vote to install adequate bike lanes or install accessible art and basement forth streets.

“This is a administration abounding cities in America are affective in, and we appetite to accomplish abiding Des Moines is, too,” Anderson said. “Just watching bodies drive bottomward the artery as we’re accomplishing the work, it’s been abundant to see their reaction.

“We’ve apparent them the art of the possible.”

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