Thursday, July 12, 2012

Implementation Report from Des Moines

By Kathy Young, Director of Operations.

Yesterday, Market Street's Director of Projects, Alex Pearlstein attended a second quarter update on the Capital Crossroads strategy developed for the Greater Des Moines, Iowa region. To put it mildly, they’ve done a lot so far.

(As is described in more detail on the project case study page elsewhere on our website, in 2010, the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines and other key partners retained Market Street Services to facilitate the development of Greater Des Moines and Central Iowa’s strategic plan.)

Everyone at Market Street is excited to have been a part of this dynamic process. As Alex observed, the list of implementation activities below demonstrate what can happen when communities hit the ground running, fully leverage relationships, and get organizations, companies, and leadership engaged and committed from day one.

  • 11 implementation working groups were assembled in approximately about three months, with a total of 350 volunteers engaged to date.
  • Secured funding for a private non-profit downtown land bank to facilitate redevelopment efforts.
  • The “Capital Corridor” tech corridor effort (between Ames and Des Moines) is being chaired by ISU President Steven Leath and Steve Zumbach, a distinguished lawyer and former Drake University professor.
  • Sector councils for all target business sectors have begun meeting and reporting out findings and recommendations.
  • Launched StartupCity Des Moines, a regional incubator/accelerator.
  • Launched Greater Des Moines SourceLink small business tool.
  • Launched GetActiveDSM, a mobile application designed to promote regional wellness activities/events and get people engaged.
  • Launched an Urban Core Initiative with a strategic plan for Des Moines’ most disadvantage neighborhoods due to be released next month.
  • Opened a workforce development/life-skills center for working families in an abandoned supermarket in the urban core.
  • Secured the sale of the soon-to-be-vacated central fire station to a local arts group to serve as an arts incubator.
  • Developed a “shared services agreement” for local governments, and have already had two city councils vote to approve it.
  • Have begun to inventory all the wellness programs in Central Iowa in order to design a regional wellness program. Are about to launch a survey of all businesses over 20 employees in the region to identify their internal wellness-related activities.
  • Brought in the Business Higher Education Forum (a recognized best practice organization) to speak with regional education leaders about cradle-to-career pipelines.
  • Have inventoried all regional leadership programs and are about to launch social media networking tools to connect the different groups and alumni.
  • Preparing to launch a study on the best way to connect Des Moines and Ames via transit.
  • Connected the Des Moines’ Partnership’s Diversity Committee with a statewide group to develop additional programming.
  • Have increased outreach to the Latino community to identify specific needs and are now collaboratively seeking funding to develop a community center facility in Downtown Des Moines.
The full Q2 report will be posted on the Capital Crossroads website in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned!

To read some recent press coverage of the Capital Crossroads process and implementation progress, please see:
'Regional road map' for Des Moines advances quickly

Looking for 'moments of brilliance' in the Capital Core
Iowa State University to add faculty in effort to help create a biotech research powerhouse
Capital Crossroads: Wellness Capital
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