Revisiting the Charm of Downtown DSM Post-Pandemic
The Downtown Board Member spotlight allows Downtown Board Members to introduce themselves to their residents and customers while also showcasing their support and dedication to the region and our small business owners. Each member would have a chance to create a blog centered around attractions, dining and events that they enjoy and give them a moment to be recognized for the work that they put into the development of Downtown Des Moines (DSM).
Name, Title + Organization: Matt Anderson, Deputy City Manager, City of Des Moines
Matt Anderson Q+A
What specific role do you have that supports Downtown Des Moines (DSM)?
I joined the City of Des Moines’ Office of Economic Development in 2002, which was the beginning of the Downtown DSM renaissance. The Historic East Village, Nationwide campus, Temple for the Performing Arts and Western Gateway Park were all kicking off at that time. Downtown housing was just beginning to gather momentum. Remember how cool we thought we were when we landed Iowa’s first Starbucks?! Today, as deputy city manager, I still collaborate on economic development projects and assist staff on large, complex negotiations such as the Market District and Pro Iowa stadium and Global Plaza.
How long have you been a part of the Downtown DSM Board?
This is my first year on the board.
What are your favorite Downtown DSM attractions (Botanical Garden, Science Center, Sculpture Park, etc.) and why?
I’m an avid runner and utilize our trails and Gray’s Lake nearly every day. During the pandemic, I realized just how much I miss live shows at Hoyt Sherman Auditorium and the Des Moines Civic Center’s Willis Broadway Series.
What are some of your favorite Downtown DSM restaurants?
My wife and I live on the west end of downtown and are frequent supporters of Centro, Proof, Horizon Line Coffee, Django and Bubba.
What are some of your favorite small businesses in Downtown DSM?
I love to cook and really enjoy having Kitchen Collage and AllSpice just a couple blocks from my office.
What have been some of your favorite #DSMlocal recent purchases?
I was cooking at home a lot more last year, so I bought a new set of Chantal pans at Kitchen Collage. I use them almost daily.
What are some of your favorite Downtown DSM events (Des Moines Arts Festival®, World Food and Music Festival, DSM Book Festival, etc.)?
My wife and I really enjoy the Des Moines Arts Festival®. Since moving downtown, we’ve tried to up our art game to decorate our space. We try to buy one signature piece each year. I have attached a photo of my favorite from this year — a glass piece from Jeremy and Chelsea Griffith.
What is your favorite Downtown DSM moment?
I’ve been racing triathlons for over 10 years and have completed six full Ironman races. Working with Catch Des Moines to recruit and land an Ironman event in DSM was a tremendous opportunity to combine my personal and professional passions.
What are some new Downtown DSM developments that make you excited?
I’m a big soccer fan and can’t wait to buy my Pro Iowa season tickets!
How do you think that others can support the development of the Downtown DSM area?
Many people don’t realize how easy it is to engage with civic leaders and civic processes in DSM. Join a City board or commission!
Or participate in upcoming stakeholder input sessions for the Downtown Vision Plan. There are endless opportunities to be a part of the process and actually help mold the future of our downtown.
Recently ranked a top five metro for number of economic development projects among metros with a population of 200,000 to 1 million, growth continues in and around Downtown Des Moines (DSM) in part thanks to unique public-private partnerships that allow community leaders to work together to invest in, grow and improve the city center. Learn more about other recent development projects in Downtown DSM.