From the beginning, our focus has been on community improvement projects with a strong emphasis on education about our rich history. A historian has called the Highland, Union and Oak Park areas one of the best examples of a “streetcar suburb” in the Midwest.
Our goals have expanded beyond revitalization and educating our residents and others on the history of our neighborhoods. Our mission is to create a safe, exciting outdoor recreational hub in a historic setting that is a regional venue for the arts and various events to enhance the quality of life. There are ongoing benefits to living and working in the Parks area.
We have two National Historic Districts for which PAF is the major booster group. In 2000 we purchased the road signage to identify the areas. PAF has sponsored the painting of two large murals depicting local history in addition to publishing a local history book and a DVD showing the area as it appeared in the 1930s.
Our only large economic development project, so far, has been the purchase and historic renovation of a mixed-use building in the 6th and Euclid National Historic District. This project brought five low-to-moderate income apartments back into service for local residents. The building was renovated to National Park Service Standards and was funded by State and Federal historic Tax Credits, a PAF mortgage and a 5-year forgivable loan from the City of Des Moines.
PAF is the partner with the City of Des Moines in the Highland Park Self Supporting Municipal Improvement Project (SSMID). This is a taxing district to fund and support streetscape improvement in the district including historic lighting, historic arch over the street, historic signage, trees, planters, and public benches.
We are currently embarking on a project to develop a city park and outdoor music venue in partnership with the City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department on the site of the historic Riverview Amusement Park.
On January 22nd 2018, the Des Moines City Council voted 7 - 0 to make PAF the primary concessionaire of Riverview Park and put in place the construction of the Prairie Meadows Riviera Stage and Variety Club Star Playground. Construction began in 2019. See the Projects page for more!