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good to jordan

A letter from Good to Jordan — a dispute over a calf

I can tell by reading the Save the Maplenol Dairy Barn Facebook page that there are still questions about the barn’s location, from folks out of state, and from neighboring towns. The Maplenol Dairy Barn was moved about a year ago to a location on Valley E-Free Church property. My last contact with church staff indicated that the barn would not ever be open for development and public involvement, but used as a barn to store lawn equipment that supports the UpWard sports program. To view the barn, you can drive by or park at the church near Mills Civic Pkwy. and Fuller Rd. — it is currently obscured (for the most part) by a large pile of dirt as the church prepares to build a large, new shiny community center.

I also want to write about developments with the City of West Des Moines. It is preparing to hold a public question and answer session on June 19, 2012. Full official information is on this document located here:

This will be a time to learn about Certified Local Government Program (CLG Program), what the program aims to do and how it can help a city’s residents and businesses. I asked a local (Des Moinesian) professional with CLG experience (in Des Moines and other towns) to write something over at Save the Barn, and you can read it here:

Other cities with a CLG Program are widely distributed through the state, of different sizes and histories, and varying degrees of involvement. I profiled Centerville as one example. West Des Moines could potentially join the company of over 100 cities with a CLG Program, including Iowa Falls, Mason City, Dubuque, Des Moines, Davenport, Ames, Council Bluffs, and Ottumwa (source). A CLG Program in my opinion would benefit our City, encouraging the view that historic properties have value, and our property owners. The CLG Program would create a preservation committee to serve as a local pointman for information on tax credits for historic preservation, listing a property with the National Register of Historic Places, and learning about state and national grant monies.

I was elected last month to the Board of Directors of the West Des Moines Historical Society (WDMHS). What does this mean for barn lovers? For the Maplenol Barn, it doesn’t mean anything. That barn is in private ownership now. It was saved, but not left in place. For all other barns and historic resources, it means that I will be an advocate. The main impact of my appointment is that I am a current and avid user of the internet and all its social media goodness, so the WDMHS message can be quickly sent to non-members.

I hope to be a good fit with the WDMHS, because the mission is right up my alley:

The mission of the Society is to promote and keep alive an active interest in the history of West Des Moines; and to acquire and preserve articles and materials which establish and illustrate the heritage and growth of West Des Moines.

This mission lines up with the City’s CLG proposal. I hope to maintain the connections I made from the barn effort to assist with the WDMHS goals. For example, I’ve asked Steve Wilke-Shapiro to write an opinion for on why ordinary people like you and me ought to care about West Des Moines’ proposed CLG Program. Holly, Sarah and I met with Steve to learn about how the TAN program and barn saving looks if we were to get the opportunity. That time with him showed me that he cares about preservation and conservation of resources, and values history, giving him a great perspective on why CLG could make a difference. You might be able to hear Steve talk about this stuff yourself — he did a podcast with Michael Libbie during our Save the Barn campaign.

I hope to use my experiences to direct the group’s viewpoint on events and programming. If you haven’t known me since childhood, those experiences would be serving on the board of Iowa Dance Theatre, owning and operating Three Sisters and most of all, social media.

With recent and upcoming history events in Waukee and Des Moines respectively, I thought I would write briefly about our town’s historical society. If you sent a donation in the early days of the Save the Barn campaign via PayPal or check, it was most likely processed through the West Des Moines Historical Society (WDMHS). T

he WDMHS was established in 1970, quite some time ago when compared to the Waukee (est. 2012) and Des Moines (est. 2011). And while it isn’t quite caught up on technology with the internet and programming like Des Moines’ Historical Society, it has issued a call to action via member newsletter (read a copy with this link) for a weekend event this Saturday — Spring Clean-up. You may have read about it in the Valley Vibes for the last two weeks (see the complaint section of the WDMCS Tech post here, because you know it’s extra-validating to see the truth in print form).

We at Jordan House take great pride in this beautiful Victorian home. It’s a treasure for the past, present, and future. Please visit us if you haven’t been here for a while and for those of you who might be unfamiliar please come and enjoy this wonderful historical landmark. We are scheduling a “service day” to tidy up the grounds surrounding the House which will call for many hands to make light work. If you can volunteer any time April 21 between 9:00-2:00 we would greatly appreciate your assistance. No amount of time is too little. Meet your neighbors and friends while feeling a sense of community pride. This will involve the following:  general yard clean-up (lawn rakes are welcome)  repairing, scraping, and painting some fence  edging sidewalks (weed whackers are welcome)  cleaning off flower beds and laying mulch  gutter and downspout maintenance  lower level window washing We encourage everyone to bring a “sack lunch” if you choose. Dessert, coffee, and water will be provided. Please come out and help keep West Des Moines’ oldest and most beautiful Victorian Home the stately museum that it is. Please RSVP to Penny Schiltz at: 515-225-1286 or email

Want a photo of the barn? Click the barn below.

Hi, I'm Julia. I wanted to save a barn down the street from my house. It's been moved to a churchyard a couple miles away. Keep up with the barn's story and subscribe to this blog. For more about me, visit my personal blog .
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