WHNA Major Projects

Following are projects that are currently part of our WHNA programs to provide either directly or indirectly benefits to our WHNA Neighbors; And/or projects that we plan to implement this current year.

  1.   Incentive Program to Register with Police DSM Camera Program.  

 The Des Moines Police DSM Camera Program is a program where you can register your home security camera(s) with the Police Department. That does not give them direct access to your system. This only lists in their database your address indicating you have security cameras.

If some event happens close to you that has the police interest (accident, burglary, etc.) they will contact you to see if your cameras saw anything of interest. If you have film or data of interest to them, they will provide a thumb drive to transfer the images to the police.

This allows the police to respond much faster to obtain useable information in crime events. Obtaining useful information faster makes it more likely that there will be a positive result for solving the crime.

The more people that are registered with this program; the greater portion of our WHNA area will be covered by security cameras obtaining data possibly useful to the police. It takes only a couple of minutes to register by computer online. We encourage neighbors that have security camera's to register with this program. 

WHNA did have for awhile a small incentive program to encourage our neighbors to enroll in the Police Departments DSM/Camera Program. That currently has been ended.

Click on the following website address and it will take you to a webpage giving you information about the City of Des Moines Police Department "WatchDSM Community Camera Program" Near the bottom of that page you will see a Blue Button titled "Register for the Program". Click on that Button to go to the Registration Page. It costs you nothing to Register for the Program. It helps the Des Moines Police Department provide more effective police services to protect our neighborhood.


If you have any questions about this, give me a call (515) 287-1976


  2.   Expand WHNA Annual Holiday Lighting Contest
The prize money for this year has been expanded. 1st prize = $150.00; 2nd prize = $125.00; 3rd prize = $100.00; 4th prize = $75.00 and 5th prize = $50.00.   Prizes are awarded with HyVee Gift Cards presented on Christmas. We also present you with an award certificate.

Last year we added a new feature. Once you entered the contest, if you approve, we registered your address in a database drive-by list. When your holiday lighting decorations were ready to "SHOW OFF" we added your home to the drive-by ready list. That will feature will be continued this year. If you want to enter the contest but do NOT want to be on the drive-by list, that is okay also.

We will be updating the drive-by list to our WHNA website every day whenever new information is provided to us. We also will email a drive-by list to anyone that gives us an email address and makes the request.

We learned last year, it was the pride involved in having their Holiday Lighting Decorations shown and seen that most of the neighbors liked best. We will begin maintaining the drive-by list Thanksgiving day or the date of the first Contest Entry, whichever comes later. We will need you yo provide to us a digital picture of your decorations.

Enjoy. Have fun "Showing-Off" and remember, you will have provided enjoyment for other WHNA neighbors. 

Our newest addition to the Holiday Lighting Contest overall program is WHNA Provided Holiday Light Strings.

We have plans to expand the WHNA Fifth Annual Holiday Lighting Contest. We want to have a contest like in the past for those neighbors that create really impressive decoration programs.

This year, we want to add a drawing program to encourage all those neighbors that enter the contest but whose decorations are NOT PRIZE Winners.

We want to have a THANK YOU drawing for all contestants that do NOT win a prize for their Decorations. The total number of decorations makes the neighborhood more enjoyable for all the neighbors. Not everyone can provide decorations that are top prize winners. We want to have a drawing from the remaining neighbors that entered the contest but did not win a prize for their decorations to have a chance at winning a THNAK YOU PRIZE from WHNA for their effort to make the entire neighborhood more festive. The number of THANK YOU PRIZE drawings are yet to be decided and will depend on the amount of funding WHNA is able to raise.

 3.   Complete "Welcoming Package" for neighbors new to WHNA
We started this "Welcoming Package" almost a year ago and then were sidetracked on other issues. We apologize to the neighbors new to WHNA that have recently contacted us; asking if we had such an information package. 

We are providing information: Police contacts and services; regarding the nearest schools, churches, parks, banks or credit unions and major local stores and some of the special services offered through WHNA. 
We also will provide contact information for local government services. 
If there is additional information you would like to see as a newcomer to our WHNA neighborhood, please contact us with your requests or suggestions. 

We would like to be able to have a basic "Welcoming Package" for WHNA newcomers completed within the next month or two.

Even people that have lived in this area for years, might find something new about our neighborhood if they check out the site designed for new neighbors.


  4.   2022 Neighbors' Voting Assistance

Regardless of whom you will vote for, this year it will be especially important that you vote and that your vote is counted. 

The Secretary of State Website has a place where you can enter your name, and birthdate and they can provide you voting information and provide you an absentee Ballot

You can check the latest status of your ballot at the Iowa Secretary of State website. Click on the following website address:

Iowa's most recent voting laws make it unclear how much and what type of help we can provide to our neighbors to help ensure that a neighbor's vote is counted. We will make an effort to provide any assistance we can legally provide to help you be able to cast your vote.

  5.   2022 WHNA Covid-19 compliant Block Party Program

We had a fun WHNA hosted Cul-De-Sac Block Party with live B2Wins entertainment the afternoon Sunday last year. The rain quite only minutes before the B2Wins began their outstanding performance.

Altogether there was between 35 to 40 people being entertained or participating. Most were masked and usually social distancing was maintained. Our neighbors really seemed to enjoy this special event. These events are not promoted outside the immediate area specifically to help limit the turnout to Covid-19 compliant crowd size.

Special thanks to our local Kum-N-Go store and our local Wendy's for their donations and support of this event.

There is some lead-time needed to put this on, so we want to begin planning for these events now. We will continue planning ahead for this spring and summer, as long as the Covid-19 virus is still a threat.

Please reach us through the contact section of this website if you would like your immediate area to be considered for an event like this.

Pictures of this event are posted to the Gallery in this WHNA Website.

We currently are in the planning stages to provide small local block parties that will be primarily just a small outside social meeting.

We also, are in the planning stages to have small outside First Aid Training Sessions. This would be conducted by a First Responder and prior trainer. There will be two versions of these classes. There will be not cost for a version about 2-hours that does not provide Certification. There will be 6-hour version that provides Certification and is limited to 9 people and has a $25.00 cost per person for the actual Certification.

We believe the more of our neighbors that have some First Aid Training the safer it will make all our WHNA neighbors. WHNA is supportive of this and believes this will be a benefit to all of us

  6.   WHNA Dog Walking Social Club
This is a recent suggestion of one of our WHNA Board Members. If you have a dog(s) that you walk, send us a message from our WHNA Contact section. We need your Address and contact information and that you are interested in the Dog Walking Social Club. Eventually we are going to need more information, like what time of the day you prefer and when you stop walking, (Rain, cold, deep snow, etc.) 

There is no cost for this. This mainly is so the many dog walkers can walk their dog(s) and have someone other than their dogs to talk to. There is also the possibility of having one or more people that could be a substitute dog walker when you just cannot do it.

NOTE: This is just for Dog Walkers. If there is actually enough demand from the few Cat Walkers in the WHNA area, we will see what we can do.

  7.   Completion of WHNA Annexation Application
Check the Boundaries section of the WHNA website and you will be able to see a map of our current boundaries. You will also be able to see a map of a proposed area to be added to the WHNA boundaries.

This proposed area is not part of any recognized City Council approved neighborhood association. The proposed area is adjacent to our current area and has a very similar housing and population make-up as our current area. 

Back on August 21st 2019 WHNA made our official application to the City Council to expand our area to include the proposed area. 

The City required a vote during one of our WHNA Neighbors meeting to indicate the neighbors desire to expand. All of the neighbors in attendance voted positive for WHNA to continue with the proposed addition.

The next step was for the City to pay for and send out an information mailer to see if the neighbors in the proposed area wanted to become part of the Watrous Heights Neighborhood Association. Because of the problems related to the Covid-19 Threat the mailing never happened until now.

We would like to have neighbors from the proposed area become active members of committees and the WHNA Board of Directors.

We will have a live meeting Monday March 7th, 2022 at 6:00 pm in the South Union Elementary School Library. Neighbors living in the proposed area and in attendance at this meeting will be able to VOTE yes or no regarding their desire to join the Watrous Heights Neighborhood Association.

To see the current WHNA area and the Proposed Area to be added to the Watrous Heights Neighborhood Association click on the link below. That page had two PDF files. Click either and they will provide you a detailed map.


  8.   We have completed our 2022 Application for Polk County Community Betterment Grant.
We have completed our Report following the 2021 CBG Application, which was required prior to filing the application for the Polk County Community Betterment Grant. 

Based on prior experience, Polk County Community Betterment Grant Program will be a major portion of WHNA's operational funding for 2022.

The funding for this Grant comes entirely from Prairie Meadows Profits and is NOT provided by any taxes.

 9.   Develop ongoing Funding sources separate from CBG Program
As President of WHNA, I consider one of my most important duties is to find additional and ongoing funding sources that will best allow us to reach our WHNA goals.

Most of the Projects that would allow us to provide the best services to our neighbors cost money. We cannot reach those goals without obtaining the needed funding. 

10.   Upgrade Appeal and Methods re Zoom Neighbors Meetings.
We are very much still in the learning process regarding the use of Zoom. We need to learn how we can be more effective and more appealing to our neighbors with the use of online meetings. 

We believe, even after the Covid-19 threat has gone away, there will be many uses in our operation for online meetings like Zoom.

 11.   Expand "Blight Home" attack program

A.   First Step in the Blight Home Problem is for our neighbors to stay alert and notify our WHNA or our City Inspector of abandon homes or problem homes.

B.   The Second Step is to track the legal and title battle regarding the Blight Home. Again the City Inspector normally will have the latest info regarding this situation. When close to title change, the immediate neighbors (Maximum of 20 homes) will be contacted to get their contact information to push for Blight Home Destruction.

C.  The Third Step would be a combined communication campaign from WHNA neighbors in the immediate area around the Blight Home (Maximum of 20 homes). These neighbors need to provide communications (emails, letters, calls) to Joe Gatto specifically expressing their desire to have the Blight Home demolished as soon as possible.

 12.   Continue and Update Efforts to obtain WHNA Vest-Pocket Park
WHNA does not have a neighborhood Park anywhere in our area. We are one of the very few Neighborhood Associations that do not have a park or even any green space (vest-pocket park).

There was a Blight home demolished on the NW corner of SW5th and Leach. This lot was nearly centered in our area and would have been ideal for a Vest Pocket Park. 

The WHNA Board thought they were making headway when they obtained a substantial verbal commitment from a major funder to provide 50% of the cost to acquire and develop the site into a vest pocket park.

We had a few meetings and then a major meeting including City and County personnel and our key representatives from for the City and County. The meeting also had a leading individual from the Parks and Rec Department. This individual made a major presentation to kill the project. 

Our desire to have a WHNA Neighborhood Park is not dead. It was partially a learning process.  We will look for a different approach. But we will not abandon our goal to have a Vest-Pocket Park for the WHNA neighbors.

13. We are currently working to have a Flower or Community Garden in the Miller Ave Cul-de-Sac area.

Thanks to a WHNA Neighbor with good ideas and her desire to make her area better, and the support people from the Des Moines service people who help WHNA; we are in the early stages now of what we believe could be positive results for her area.

14. We are currently working to update our neighbors regarding the McKinley Avenue Reconstruction.

We have participated in all local meetings we learned of regarding this project to stay informed.

We post updated links and information on this project on our website. This project likely will have McKinley Avenue closed for TWO YEARS to traffic between South Union and SW 9th Street. All WHNA neighbors need to stay updated on this information

15. The McKinley Reconstruction has a major effect on South Union Elementary School Traffic.

Traffic during student pick-ups have parents stopping in what is a no parking area. This has the effect of converting South Union Street into a one-way street for the area from Leach Ave to McKinley Ave. 

Even before McKinley is closed, this creates a dangerous situation for the South Union Elementary School Students. There is a local neighbor that lives on South Union and has students attending South Union. Thanks to her efforts and her videotaping skills, there is now convincing evidence of how dangerous this situation is and the real threat for when McKinley is closed. 

The city of Des Moines and their Engineering Department are now working closely with the Des Moines School District in finding the best solution to address this problem. We are to be updated when a final decision is made for the solution. We will post this information as soon as it is made available to us. 

 16.  Effort to increase our benefit for and appeal to WHNA Neighbors
This is our underlying duty at WHNA is to constantly try to find more and better ways to benefit our neighbors and how we can increase how the neighbors believe we are meeting that goal.