Urban Recreation Districts are an outgrowth of IPF’s experience with the Parks to People Regions, and the demonstrable success of those Regions in terms of identifying, funding and constructing new and/or improved recreational amenities locally and branding those regional efforts. From those experiences, IPF learned about partnering with economic development initiatives, a sound planning process and plan, incorporating a broad spectrum of constituencies, consensus-based and flexible decision-making, locally driven leadership (bottom up, not top down), the compounding miracle of base match funding, measuring results in concrete and transparent terms, persistently branding all initiatives, generating publicity for success, and the all-important up-and-down effort to build human infrastructure for the long-term. Those lessons seemed well-suited to some of the same dreams and desires of urban residents for economic development, lifestyle enhancement and public recreation within Iowa’s dense urban communities. Hence, a pilot project in The Avenues in Des Moines. And this was anything but an accidental choice; IPF sought to identify a rough geographic area with an existing economic development initiative and some risk-taking, enthusiastic staff resources, an existing physical infrastructure with great potential that was already recognized by many in the community, and a broad array of housing, business, institutional and socio-economic constituencies. IPF is over-the-moon excited to partner with The Avenues to pilot the concept of Urban Recreation Districts. So the journey begins….
Executive Director, The Avenues
Coordinator, The Avenues Urban Recreation District (Pilot)
558 28th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50312