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Downtown DSM Future Forward Announces Council Made Up of Community Voices, Seeks Public Input

October 28, 2021

GREATER DES MOINES, IA (Oct. 28, 2021) – The Downtown DSM: Future Forward Steering Committee has announced the names of individuals on the Future Forward Council, as well as opportunities for the public to give their input on the Downtown Des Moines (DSM) vision plan (now referred to as the Downtown DSM: Future Forward Plan).

The Future Forward Council is made up more than 40 leaders representing organizations from throughout Greater Des Moines (DSM). The Future Forward Council is designed to give input and drive ideas for the planning process for the future of Downtown DSM. The Council includes a diverse array of representatives from community organizations to ensure people of many different backgrounds and interests have an opportunity to cultivate a growing and thriving Downtown that is inclusive and welcoming to everyone. The Future Forward Council Leaders are Teree Caldwell-Johnson, President and CEO of Oakridge Neighborhood; Jen Carruthers, President of Capital City Pride; Kameron Middlebrooks, Director of Community Impact at the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines; and Mary Sellers, President of United Way of Central Iowa. All who will also serve as liaisons for the council on the Future Forward Steering Committee. See the full list of Future Forward Council members here.

“We want Downtown DSM to be welcoming; a place where people see themselves contributing to and shaping its vibrancy and growth,” said Tiffany Tauscheck, Chief Operations Officer at the Greater Des Moines Partnership and President of Downtown DSM Inc. “It is imperative to design the future of Downtown DSM with input from the community. We will have a better, stronger vision and plan for the future if we have a blend of different perspectives weighing in to guide this inclusive, community-driven plan.”

Members of the public will have an opportunity to give feedback to help shape the plan. A Community Kickoff Open House will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at the Atrium at Capital Square at 400 Locust Street. The event will take place from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Downtown workers, residents and visitors are encouraged to stop by to interact with a series of displays on different topics influencing Downtown DSM. The open house is a family-friendly event, including activities for children, and will be set up for independent viewing to help each participant fully immerse themselves in their ideal Downtown DSM.

The Downtown DSM: Future Forward Steering Committee has also launched an interactive project website. Website visitors can share their vision online through interactive maps, take a survey to give their input and sign up for an in-person or virtual focus group discussion.

The inclusive Downtown DSM: Future Forward planning process will be designed to build upon the momentum of Downtown DSM and set up Downtown for future success. The growth of the Downtown population, amenities and overall vibrancy has mirrored the growth of the region in the last 20 years, and this vision plan creates a roadmap for the next chapter of Downtown and helps the region build upon the excitement that already exists Downtown through events, attractions, major projects, major employers and more.

It will also roll up into the Capital Crossroads regional vision plan, which will be updated in 2022. As part of the process, the plan’s leaders and consultants will engage with the public to garner feedback and ideas for the future of Downtown DSM. View the website here.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership, in collaboration with Bravo Greater Des Moines, Catch Des Moines, City of Des Moines, Des Moines Regional Transit Authority (DART), Des Moines Downtown Chamber of Commerce, Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), FuseDSM, Operation Downtown and Polk County, is working to develop the community-driven Future Forward plan to help position Downtown DSM for short-term economic recovery and long-term economic vitality and vibrancy. The Future Forward Steering Committee is chaired by Jake Christensen, President of Christensen Development; Angela Connolly, Chair of the Polk County Board of Supervisors; Mayor Frank Cownie, City of Des Moines; and Kathryn Kunert, Vice President of Economic Connections and Integration at MidAmerican Energy.

The consulting team for the project is made up of local, regional and national experts who have international downtown experience. The team consists of Bâton Global, Civitas Consultants and RDG Planning & Design.

About the Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 24 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 365 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.

About Downtown, DSM, Inc.

Downtown DSM, Inc. is part of the Greater Des Moines Partnership and is dedicated to ensuring the continued growth of Downtown Des Moines (DSM). A strong region needs a strong Downtown. Downtown DSM, Inc. leads efforts to drive development, placemaking and events in Downtown DSM. It promotes a strong Downtown through integration of retail, restaurants, businesses, housing, events and placemaking.