A Busy Start To The Year
Brenton Skaing Plaza at night
The City of Des Moines is officially well into 2022, and there are a lot of projects picking up steam. From everyone's favorite season, Pothole Season, the start of the Northside Community Recreation Center Storytelling Project, bridge construction, and the annual Tiny Trees event, there is a lot to cover in this edition of the Neighborhood Update.

Due to the continued transmission of COVID-19, our face-covering requirement in City buildings is still in effect. As we do each month, we encourage you to get your vaccine shot if you have not already.

The State of Iowa vaccine website recently went offline, so we have compiled a list of information on the City website to help direct residents to free home testing kits, testing sites, and other medical services. We compile and update this website page as frequently as possible to make sure the information stays accurate.

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Pothole Work Begins as Spring Nears
Public Works Crew works to patch a pothole along University Avenue as the weather warms up.
Warmer weather has reached Des Moines this month, leading the Public Works Department to shift gears earlier than usual to begin addressing potholes throughout the City. Rising daytime temperatures coupled with freezing overnight lows present a recipe for potholes to puncture Des Moines streets.

"The freeze and thaw cycle we're set up for allows water to seep into cracks before it freezes and expands, picking away at our streets," Public Works Director Jonathan Gano said. "We've already seen an increase in pothole reports, and we expect that number to soar with the weather we're expecting."

Public Works crews are out patching potholes in Des Moines streets with a cold mix asphalt blend that will help patch Des Moines streets until the weather improves enough to use a hot mix asphalt this spring and summer.

"Reporting potholes is a key to helping our crews identify problem areas and fix them quickly," Gano said. "We aim to complete pothole fixes within 24-48 hours of receiving a report, although the response time could be slightly slower during peak times."

Residents are encouraged to report any problem potholes they encounter by calling the 24/7 Public Works Customer Service Center at 515-283-4950 or on the MyDSMmobile App, where users can report precise locations throughout the City.
A Northside Community Recreation Center Storytelling Project

The City of Des Moines is pleased to announce The Storytelling Project - a dynamic digital initiative in conjunction with the proposed North Side Community Recreation Center. The Storytelling Project aims to capture the culture and spirit of the community through the collection and documentation of voices, stories, artifacts, and history.

The City, in collaboration with Des Moines-based Invictus Media, will generate a series of videos that pair personal interviews with archival images to evoke memories of the North Side Community Recreation Center site. These reflective impressions may span many years - from the original Dowling High School campus, through the "Old Dowling" and Model City Community Centers - to the present-day Grubb YMCA, as well as a look into the future.

The Storytelling Project will officially launch at the public meeting of the North Side Community Recreation Center at 1611 11th Street, Des Moines on Thursday, February 17 at 5:30 p.m.

How can you contribute?

  • Photographs and artifacts: Do you have meaningful photographs or memorabilia that will help tell the story of this place? If so, please bring these items to the February 17 or March 24 planning meeting for the North Side Community Recreation Center, or contact us to arrange collection before April 1. These artifacts will be documented into a digital archive and then safely returned to you.
  • Interviews: Are you interested in sharing your stories? Whether you have a little or a lot to say, your voice is meaningful, and we want to hear from you.

How will The Storytelling Project videos be used?

The goal of the project is to document the rich and diverse experiences of community members through their own voices so that these perspectives may be embedded in the project throughout future phases. During the design and construction phases, The Storytelling Project may be used as part of the design process to integrate the voices of the community into the physical elements of the facility itself.

During subsequent operations and programming, The Storytelling Project may be used within the facility to serve as a reminder and inspiration for future generations of users. During the fundraising phase, The Storytelling Project may be used to illustrate the significance and value of the project.

If you are interested in contributing to The Storytelling Project but are unable to attend the February 17 meeting, place contact JenniferKathryn King with Invictus Media at (816) 922-0542 or jkk@invictusmediadsm.com.
City Council Approves $10 Million 2nd Avenue Bridge Project
There has been a recent emphasis on the condition of bridges in the State of Iowa. While the City of Des Moines still has bridges to address, the City has been proactive and does not have any dangerous bridges. The Council recently approved plans to move forward with repairing two more vital bridges connecting the northern part of the City and suburbs to downtown.

Costing roughly $10,000,000, the project includes a full replacement of the bridge above Birdland Drive and important repairs to the 2nd Avenue bridge over the Des Moines River. Constructed in the 1930s these two bridges serve roughly 20,000 vehicles per day.

Since 2011, 18 bridges in the City of Des Moines have been classified as being "structurally deficient." As of 2022, 13 of those 18 bridges have been addressed. After the recent vote by the City Council, the City of Des Moines has three bridges remaining to address, each of which is scheduled for rehabilitation or complete replacement in the City's current five-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) plan.
A Look At The Upcoming City Budget
The City of Des Moines recently released its preliminary budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget includes $206,641,916 in the general fund and $212,434,138 for the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). While the general fund budget increased $10.67 million or 5.4% over the previous year, the proposal doesn't recommend any changes to the City's overall property tax levy rate.

A public hearing about the new budget will be held before City Council during the regular meeting on March 7.

What is the timeline?

Public Hearing on Budget:

Monday, March 21 at 5 p.m.
City Council Meeting (400 Robert D. Ray Dr.)

Certified Budget Due:

Thursday, March 31
The approved budget sent to Polk County Auditor

You can learn more about the City of Des Moines budget process by exploring the resources at DSM.city/budget.
DMFD Firefighters Conduct Intense Hazmat Training
Roughly 80 times a year the Des Moines Fire Department Hazmat team gets the call when a chemical or truck rollover has deadly potential. That team is about to get some crucial reinforcements.

Earlier this winter, 10 DMFD Firefighters have been undergoing the final week of a grueling, 80-hour Hazardous Materials certification course and will soon join the DMFD Hazmat Team.

"This is an intense course," Des Moines Fire Department Captain Bob Suarez said. "What they're getting is an opportunity to combine the book learning and theory behind hazmat operations and put it into practice in a safe scenario so that they're better equipped to make decisions in the do-or-die scenarios they will face in the real world."

DMFD firefighters joined firefighters and law enforcement members from departments across the state in the two-week training that was conducted at Camp Dodge in Johnston.
2022 Focus: Neighborhood Capacity Building
The Monthly Update From Your Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator
Neighborhood Leaders,

First, thank you for returning your neighborhood needs assessments in January. 53% of neighborhood associations provided feedback that will shape the creation of capacity-building resources and education that will empower neighborhood associations. Now, we are analyzing responses and drafting an action plan. If you missed the deadline and still want to participate, please contact me at HCTamminga@dmgov.org.

Next, another survey deadline is around the corner! All recognized neighborhoods are required to submit an Annual Survey in accordance with the City's Neighborhood Recognition Policy. The survey ensures that neighborhood associations recognized by City Council are active and allows you to advise us of any organizational changes that occurred over the past year.

Surveys will be sent on March 1 and are due March 30.

To ensure accurate delivery of surveys, please review the contact information currently on file. You can go to Find Des Moines Neighborhoods and click List All Neighborhoods in the search bar. From there, select the name of your neighborhood association. If key contact information has changed, please email me at HCTamminga@dmgov.org.

Finally, I don't always send surveys, but when I do it is to ensure the resources created to support and serve the neighborhood associations. I commit to asking questions only if there is an opportunity to act on responses, and to follow the data. I appreciate the continued feedback and dialog as we work together to strengthen neighborhoods across the City.

Heather Tamminga
Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator

You may contact Heather at HCTamminga@dmgov.org or call (515) 283-4775.
Thank you for subscribing to our Neighborhood Update!

As we kick off 2022, we'd love to hear what you think about this newsletter. What kinds of things are you interested in, or what would be helpful for your neighborhood? Send your suggestions to communications@dmgov.org.