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About Operation Downtown

Created to help make Downtown Des Moines (DSM) a safer, cleaner place to work, live and visit, Operation Downtown is classified as a Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID). Since day one, the mission has been to enhance the quality of life in Downtown DSM by keeping it safe, clean, welcoming and beautiful. Programs include trash cleanup, flower planting and visitor assistance. Operation Downtown, a 501(c)6, was formed in 1998 by business leaders to provide enhanced services that are not provided by the City of Des Moines. Today, the Greater Des Moines Partnership is a partner of Operation Downtown and helps keep DSM among the highest-rated, most vibrant regions in the country.

Annual Report

For years Operation Downtown has worked to ensure that the heart of Iowa’s capital city remains a source of pride year-round. Operation Downtown’s Ambassadors work behind the scenes to keep the city safe and clean, lending a helping hand to people throughout Downtown DSM. Operation Downtown’s work not only enhances Downtown DSM, but it also has raised the standards of what a clean, safe and beautiful city should look like.

Read the Fiscal Year 2022 Operation Downtown Annual Report

Board of Directors

The Operation Downtown Board of Directors consists of more than 30 prominent members of the Des Moines community who represent various geographic areas of Downtown DSM and work together to keep the city safe, clean and beautiful.

What is a SSMID?

A Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID) is a defined area within which businesses pay an additional fee to fund improvements and enhanced services within the district’s boundaries. The services SSMIDs provide are supplemental to those already provided by the municipality.

How is Operation Downtown funded?

Operation Downtown, Downtown DSM's SSMID, is funded by Downtown DSM property owners through a fee structure based on assessed value. Local hospitals also voluntarily contribute to the budget. Operation Downtown is managed by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and Operation Downtown Board of Directors, who represent the various geographic areas of Downtown DSM.

How does Operation Downtown work with the City of Des Moines?

Though Operation Downtown is not affiliated with the City, the organization works closely with municipal employees to provide an extra level of service that makes Downtown a desirable place to work, live and visit. From flower planting and trash cleanup to graffiti removal, Operation Downtown is proud to keep Downtown DSM safe, clean and beautiful.