Where the Chips May Fall

Written by Susan Hatten

This past week, there was a flurry of chatter about downtown Des Moines and five proposals submitted to the city for review. The land in question is the parking lot space at the junction of Fourth Street and Court Avenue, just west of Dos Rios Cantina & Lounge.

These five land development proposals come just as Des Moines has announced nearly $800 million in proposed additions to the downtown landscape, helping to meet the demands of downtown homeowners, renters, business owners, daytime workers and evening patrons alike.

Downtown Des Moines is certainly a much different scene today than it was 10 years ago. There were many projects placed on the back burner during the recession and tabled for future revisiting, which are resurfacing now. As a downtown dweller, I can see the benefits of each of the five proposals. As I pondered each of the options and their benefits, the visions of a Hy-Vee within walking distance and a local theater venue seemed to offer the most attractive packages.

While downtown does offer different features than many other large metropolitan areas, we still have room to grow. Earlier, I wrote a post for this column about a New York state of mind – right here in the heartland. I thought of my friends in Brooklyn, London and Los Angeles and what their downtowns provide. The proposed additions of grocery and theater to our downtown are the types of things that will make our city even more attractive to visitors as well as  residents.

According to the Absolutedsm.com Downtown Development Forum, there are currently 537 topics listed that are under discussion. It’s progress in the making, and with every chip of concrete and lay of a brick, we are moving forward.

It’s no wonder that this 2.3 acre city-owned lot is causing a community conversational frenzy. With more than 80,000 footprints traipsing to and from downtown each day, we continue to add to the traffic and momentum.

City Council will make the decision on the Fourth and Court development Monday; assistant city manager Matt Anderson and representatives from several city committees have recommended the Hy-Vee option. Ultimately, we trust that the decision made will be the best for our core infrastructure, communal landscape and Greater Des Moines enterprise system.

susan hatten

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