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Windsor Heights Working to Reclaim its Main Street

Windsor Heights Chamber of Commerce

April 25, 2018

Chamber Name 

Windsor Heights Chamber of Commerce

Elected leader for 2018 

Jonathan Koester, President

Professional Staff Leader of the Chamber

Michael P. Libbie, Executive Director

Number of Members 


What’s a signature offering of your Chamber?

We do a small number of projects, but we do them well: Small Business Saturday in November to drive the message of doing business locally, our Annual Golf Outing, Nights in the Heights Annual Awards Dinner (coming in June) and our monthly Lunch and Learn.

Any initiative or project that you are looking forward to in 2018?  

There is, perhaps, not a more major decision that has come before the Windsor Heights City Council than the report and vote on the proposed redesign of University Avenue. For decades the city has struggled with poor public relations that has branded the centrally located community as a “speed trap”. That is a disaster for our locally owned businesses.

If you live or work in Windsor Heights, you know what is coming the moment you mention the city name. “Oh there! I avoid Windsor Heights like the plague!” or “Windsor Heights is the place I and my friends won’t go, it’s nothing but a speed trap.” While it is true that people going 11 miles an hour over the posted 25 mph speed limit are breaking the law there is a real psychological reason as to why they speed.

Experts from across the U.S. have looked at University Avenue. They say its four lanes of traffic plus a turning lane means it’s a road designed to move vehicles as fast as possible through the city and that, “Clearly the road was built for speeds of 40 or even 45 mph. So, when traveling down the highway you are encouraged to speed because it looks and feels like you can.”

In other words, nothing will change in Windsor Heights until we change University Avenue and reclaim a Main Street for our community.

That is why the Windsor Heights Chamber of Commerce is on record for approval of the three-lane concept that was put before the City Council on 16 April. We have been involved, from the beginning, and we believe the three-lane concept will:

  • Promote economic development by offering new opportunities for commercial and residential living.
  • Erase the negative public relations of “radar heights” because we’ve fixed the culprit.
  • Open up new commercial tax opportunities thereby reducing the property tax burden on our homeowners.
  • Promote safety by creating an atmosphere of controlled speed and driving.
  • Open up the area for additional modes of transportation.

We can, if we are bold, create a destination community that will benefit our residents, our existing businesses and those who have not yet discovered how great it is to live, work and do business in Windsor Heights.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the fourth largest regional Chamber of Commerce in the nation. Learn more about Partnership Affiliate Chambers, browse the Membership Directory and read additional Affiliate Chamber spotlights.

Jonathan Koester

Jonathan Koester is president of Koester | Development, which is a construction and development company based in Greater Des Moines (DSM) with locations in Florida. Koester | Development's primary areas of focus are commercial mixed-use, office, retail, hospitality and multifamily residential development. Koester is also president of the Windsor Heights Chamber of Commerce.