contracts and special projects
Operation Downtown fosters a business-friendly environment, providing vision planning for revitalizing spaces and streetscapes, conducting market research and creating strategic partnerships to focus on investment toward important Downtown Des Moines (DSM) issues. In addition to working on special projects, Operation Downtown provides contract services.
Downtown Public Space/Park Maintenance
Operation Downtown manages a unique collaboration between the private and public sectors to provide cooperative maintenance of Downtown public parks and other public spaces, including the Principal Riverwalk, John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, East Locust Street, Asian Gardens and Brenton Skating Plaza. The work goes beyond typical safe and clean services provided by SSMID and includes turf/irrigation, sidewalk/trail snow removal, plant bed maintenance, utilities, full operation of the Brenton Skating Plaza facility and more.
Brenton Skating Plaza
Brenton Skating Plaza, gifted by the Brenton Foundation, is a unique outdoor skating facility and family entertainment venue dedicated to providing a fun, recreational experience for families and individuals of all ages. The facility opened in November of 2006 and was the first of its kind in the state of Iowa. Operation Downtown manages full operation of the Brenton Skating Plaza.
In the summer, The Plaza transforms into an outdoor event center, playing host to various events, including ceremonies, private functions, social gatherings, festivals and concerts. The Plaza features a 160-foot, one-of-a-kind canopy, allowing for rain and sun protection while enjoying panoramic cityscape views of Downtown. Brenton Skating Plaza is a quality-of-life amenity that thousands visit and enjoy each year.
Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens
Situated on the east bank of the Des Moines River on a 1.7-acre site provided by the City of Des Moines, south of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, the Asian Gardens offer a vibrant and diverse attraction for the people of Iowa, serving as a climactic destination for the Principal Riverwalk and a natural link between the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge and the Greater Des Moines Botanical Center. Operation Downtown is proud to assist in maintaining and managing the Asian Gardens.
Downtown Farmers’ Market Waste Management
The Downtown Farmers’ Market presented by UnityPoint Health – Des Moines has become one of DSM's premier events, attracting nearly 300 entrepreneurial vendors and an average of 40,000 people each bustling Saturday morning. And the success of The Market wouldn’t be possible without Operation Downtown.
As the sun comes up, the Ambassadors are already hard at work, putting street barricades in place and setting up temporary seating areas where shoppers can relax. As the crowds flood The Market, Ambassadors spread out across the nine-block site, ensuring that trash cans are emptied in a timely manner. They stay in close contact with off-duty officers from the Des Moines Police Department throughout the event who keep The Market safe.
When the weather turns colder in the fall, thousands of crows come to Downtown DSM to seek warmth. These huge flocks can make quite a mess with their droppings, so Operation Downtown works with the USDA federal wildlife specialists to implement crow harassment measures. From pyrotechnics that generate loud noises to laser beams that scare off the birds, the Operation Downtown crow control program implements a number of successful crow-control techniques that keep Downtown DSM clean and have led the way for other cities.
Operation Downtown provides financial assistance to support the D-Line, a free public transit shuttle that runs through Downtown DSM. Business professionals can utilize the service for meetings and lunch appointments, and tourists have an easy, inexpensive way to get around Downtown DSM.