Preserving the Past : Igniting the Future
Why Historic Preservation?
Historic preservation is the “poster child” of sustainability – with its economic, environmental, and cultural benefits. Preservation enhances the vibrancy of neighborhoods and cities, instilling pride and value through increased property values, as well as enhanced quality of life, sense of place and neighborhood pride. Preservation translates into economic prosperity through creation of new jobs, retention of existing jobs – especially in construction trades, stimulation of private investment, tourism and business growth, and financial investment in property improvements.
The preservation of historic buildings is a one-way street. There is no chance to renovate or to save a historic site once it’s gone. It is never certain what will be valued in the future. This reality brings to light the value of locating and saving buildings of historic significance―because once a piece of history is destroyed, it is lost forever.
Other buildings in jeopardy are the Mirrel Flats apartments at 31 and University, a three-story Colonial Revival structure built in 1912, are under pressure to be demolished to expand a gas station/convenience store. The Jefferson apartments in the Gateway West park area are under threat as well as the Ingersoll Theater and the historic buildings at 6th and Euclid.
Historically, civic-minded individuals have saved some important Des Moines buildings in historic neighborhoods, but those efforts have not netted the comprehensive goals of the newly formed Des Moines Heritage Trust, whose mission will provide vision for strategic community growth.