Local Historic District

The River Bend Local Historic District went into effect on February 2, 2012, following designation by the Des Moines City Council in January. This is a major achievement by the River Bend Neighborhood Association and will ensure that the Neighborhood’s historic housing stock and commercial buildings are safeguarded for future generations. The Local Historic District consists of the four areas of River Bend that had previously been named National Historic Landmarks. The Association is committed to helping River Bend residents and property owners understand how this designation may impact them, answer questions regarding the certificate of appropriateness approval process, and identify financial incentives for making property improvements. Please see below for helpful resources.
City of Des Moines Historic Design Guidelines:

Historic District Architectural Guidelines

Historic District Fence Guidelines

Certificate of Appropriateness Approval Process:

1. Complete the Certificate of Appropriateness application form and submit it to the City along with the $10 filing fee

2. Your planned improvements are reviewed by City staff and the Historic Preservation Commission. You will likely want to meet with City staff and attend/present before the Historic Preservation Commission to discuss your plans and discuss any necessary alterations

3. Once plans are approved by Commission, you will be sent a “Certificate of Appropriateness” within five days. Once this is received you may begin your project

4. If you are unhappy with the Commission’s decision, you may appeal to the City Council within ten days. Additional information can be found in the application for the Certificate of Appropriateness. City staff contact: Jason Van Essen at 515-283-4147 or jmvanessen@dmgov.org

National Historic Landmark Nomination Forms

The Oaklands nomination form

Prospect Park second plat nomination form

Riverview Park Plat nomination form

West Ninth Streetcar line nomination form


For more information see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)