Prequel to the "Done Deal" in Beaverdale
The prequel to what has been referred to as the "done deal" at Rice Field is the historical significance of Beaverdale's urban planning at the turn of the last century.
The recipe for the success of Beaverdale began with Rice Field as the focal point to attract young famiies to become part of this commuting suburb to downtown Des Moines.
An arial view of Rice Field tells the story. A large public green with Byron Rice school built on the far southwest corner is the landmark to Beaverdale. Housing tracks built on the streets surrounding Rice Field are small because the large green space is right there for public use. Streets in Beavedale carry of namesakes of these urban planners.*
"A sense of community and commitment existed early on in the development of the area with the building of a school [Byron RICE Elementary School] and churches at what was the heart of the area, the corner of Beaver and Adams Avenues [where Holy Trinity School/Church and Rice Field still exist]."
"In 1907, the Improvement League was formed to get a school, a church and better roads. Its first president was E.B. FAGEN*. That league was the predecessor of today's Beaveradale Business and Professional Association."
"Newton B. and Harriet WALLACE ASHBY* will become the developers of this area [--Wallace Lane and Ashby Avenue-- who purchased lot 4 in 1911 adjacent to Rice Field where single-family historical houses stand.]"
---Researched and Compiled by Jean L. Griffen in 1987
The business community understood, respected and marketed Beaverdale based on the location of Rice Field.
The Beaverdale business community took out a full page advertisement in the Des Moines Sunday Register appearing on May 15, 1927 to promote the area:
Beaverdale is a community of home-owners: a splendid place to live and bring up children. Residence in Beaverdale will bring you in contact with...people interested in the welfare of themselves and their neighbors. Schools, churches, amusements, recreational advantages and shopping conveniences abound in Beaverdale--a community complete in itself. In the space of a few years, the community of Beaverdale has grown from a small cluster of suburban homes to a prosperous, growing town, with all modern facilities and conveniences, easily accessible to [downtown] Des Moines and yet comfortably away from the rush and confusion of the city.
---The Spirit of Beaverdale
Researched and compiled in Jean L. Griffin in 1987
Today, we see this recipe of success for urban planning applied to the suburbs of Des Moines.
Thankfully there is one elementary school in existence in Beaverdale to attract young families. Holy Trinity School is located directly across the street from Rice Field.
"Rice today  has an enrollment of 593 students in classes from kindergarten through sixth grade. It has special classes for those who need additional help and for those who are gifted. Earnest young musicians may take private lessons as well as participate in the school program of music. Recess finds the school ground covered with healthy, happy children. Nor does the activity stop when the school day is over. Pack 92 of the Cub Scouts uses the auditorium for their pack meetings. Little League uses the playground in summer for games and practice. When room is available, Adult Education are held at the school It has been the polls for voting in elections for many years. Thus the school named Byron Rice on the corner of Beaver and Adams has truly been a crossroads of democracy since the day of its first planning. It brought the people of Beaverdale together to plan for the school. For fifty years it has held them together--uniting them with a common purpose--the welfare of the children. Second and third generations of the early founder of the school have traversed its corridors."
--The Spirit of Beaverdale, researched and compiled by Jean L. Griffin, 1987
Rice Field--diligently planned and proudly touted--became the envy of private interests in this century even though DMPS had designated Rice Field as a park for the community; thus, the effort that began in 2006 to preserve Rice Field for the community.
For more details on the "done deal" look under the tab "Process" and "City Council Member Conflicted" at this website.