Downtown Des Moines’ Court Avenue entertainment zone may be extended

Plans are in the works to possibly extend the Historic Court Avenue pedestrian-only entertainment zone.

The fenced-off entertainment zone, which cuts off vehicular traffic in the busy bar and restaurant area, was only supposed to last through Labor Day weekend. But according to Polk County supervisor Tom Hockensmith, businesses in the zone want to extend it. 

He said there’s a push from businesses who want to capitalize on the nice weather, with a request to keep the fencing up through the fall. 

The city of Des Moines and Polk County each chipped in $170,000 for the first few months of the security initiative, which started in mid-March

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Court Ave Entertainment Zone map

Starting at 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, traffic is shut off in an area that spans a block in each direction from the intersection of Court Avenue and West Third Street.

Patrons must be over 21 to enter the zone and pass through security, which includes wanding individuals for weapons and checking bags.

The concept started as a way to “provide a safe and fun environment for Iowans to enjoy a night out on the town.” It also was a security measure — extra security cameras were added there after a pair of shootings in April that left five people wounded.