Before the Ingersoll streetscape spanned through the corridor, it began with just a few blocks.
“In 2004, it was just a dream by our group of volunteers to enhance the stretch between 28th and 31st,” said Janis Ruan, community champion and board member of The Avenues of Ingersoll & Grand.
To lead the vision of the project, Ruan tapped the same landscape architect who brought Chicago’s Michigan Avenue to life with his signature white tulips: Doug Hoerr.
Ruan met Hoerr, of Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects in Chicago, several years prior when he visited Des Moines for the first time at the invitation of Ruan’s garden club. After hearing his philosophy on streetscapes, Ruan knew Hoerr could help create a design for Ingersoll that was “realistic, buildable and sustainable from the start.”
Hoerr’s design included sidewalks, trees, flower planters, street lighting, benches, brick paths and other pedestrian-oriented amenities. By 2009, the pilot project was complete thanks to funding from city grants, donations from business owners and residents and even a “Buy A Brick” campaign.
“Doug’s goal was to create a streetscape with these enhancements that would be traffic calming,” said Ruan. “His work has transformed Des Moines.”
Ingersoll isn’t the only place you can see Hoerr’s work in the city. Ruan also invited Hoerr to consult on Fleur Drive, the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, and the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.
In fall 2023, Hoerr received an award from the Garden Club of America for exceptional achievement in Landscape Architecture for his significant contributions to the transformation of several communities, especially Des Moines. The Des Moines Founders Garden Club nominated Doug for this award crediting his work as the “beginning of a green renaissance in the city.”
Using the pilot project as a guide, the Ingersoll streetscape now extends through the corridor. Additional phases of the streetscape construction began in 2020 and followed design standards set forth in the original project, with some modifications based on evaluation of the existing streetscape, maintenance programs, and city-wide goals.
Phases 1-3 of the streetscape have been completed with Phase 4 – a reconstruction of the pilot area between 28th-31st – planned for Summer 2024. Learn more about the benefits of the transformational Ingersoll streetscape project here.