Support Downtown DSM's Growth Through Events + Shopping Local
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: Josh Mandelbaum, Des Moines City Councilmember
Josh Mandelbaum Q+A
What specific role do you have that supports Downtown Des Moines (DSM)?
I have the honor of representing the council ward that includes all of downtown west of the Des Moines River.
How long have you been a part of the Downtown DSM Board?
I have been on the board since being elected to the Council in 2018.
What are your favorite Downtown DSM attractions (Botanical Garden, Science Center, Sculpture Park, etc.) and why?
My kids are five and seven so right now my favorite attractions are family focused. We love spending an afternoon exploring the Science Center of Iowa, playing in the water at Cowles Commons or catching a baseball game at Principal Park.
What are some of your favorite Downtown DSM restaurants?
Centro, Bubba, Trellis Café, Proof, Blue Sushi, Fong’s, St. Kilda Café & Bakery, Exile Brewing Company to name a few. Is it too early to say Table 128?
What are some of your favorite small businesses in Downtown DSM?
I have a lot of coffee meetings and love that we have a variety of different options so Scenic Route Bakery, Horizon Line Coffee and Java Joes are regular spots for me. Teehee’s Comedy Club makes the list because it’s great that we have a comedy club downtown. I have a drawer full of Raygun shirts. And my dog wouldn’t let me leave Jett and Monkey’s off the list.
What are some of your favorite Downtown DSM events (Des Moines Arts Festival®, World Food and Music Festival, DSM Book Festival, etc.)?
The Des Moines Arts Festival® and the DSM Book Festival are favorites. I love it when we host national sporting events like the NCAA basketball tournament, Dew Tour and Ironman Triathlon.
What is your favorite Downtown DSM moment?
When my wife and I first moved in together, we had an apartment in the Gateway Lofts. It was a great period in our lives. We loved living downtown, and that’s part of why we’ve only moved a few blocks away since then.
What are some new Downtown DSM developments that make you excited?
I am incredibly excited to see the Dico site being cleaned up and transformed into the home of the ProIowa soccer team. One of the most dilapidated parts of downtown will soon be one of the premier destinations in our community.
Lauridsen Skatepark has been a fantastic addition to Downtown DSM. It’s been constant activity since it opened, and it’s put DSM on the professional skateboarding map.
How do you think that others can support the development of the Downtown DSM area?
One of the great aspects of our downtown is that it is multifaceted. It’s a business district, a thriving neighborhood and a cultural and entertainment center. One of the ways to support the continued development of downtown is don’t stay in a downtown silo. If you work downtown, also come downtown for the events and cultural attractions or think about living downtown. If you’re coming downtown for a cultural event, come a little early to visit a coffee shop or restaurant.
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.