Welcome To The New Year!
Thank you for reading our monthly updates throughout the past twelve months. The goal of this newsletter is to provide additional information to neighborhood leaders, and for you to share this information with your neighbors. Based on the feedback we have received, we will strive to continue meeting your expectations. This month's newsletter includes information on the City's new Councilwoman, a review of the record number of calls by the DMFD, an update from your Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator and much more.

The COVID variant Omicron continues to spread throughout the United States and Iowa. Winter weather is also here, leading to more residents getting sick. We encourage you to get your vaccine shot if you have not already.

Due to the continued and rising transmission of COVID-19, our face-covering requirement in City buildings is still in effect.

This newsletter is your direct connection to what's happening within your City government. If you know of someone monthly that might be interested in these updates, share this newsletter with them! They can sign up here.
Council Adds A New Member: Indira Sheumaker
Newest Council Member Indira Sheumaker being officially sworn in during the January 10th City Council Meeting.
In November 2021, the residents of Des Moines went to polling stations across Des Moines to vote for representatives of three Council seats up for re-election. As a result of those elections, community activist Indira Sheumaker won her race, becoming the new representative of Ward 1 on the City Council.

During the January 10th City Council meeting, Councilwoman Sheumaker was officially sworn in, replacing incumbent Bill Gray. In addition to being sworn into City Council, Councilwoman Sheumaker was also appointed to three committees: the IMPACT Community Action Partnership, the Homeless Coordinating Council and as an alternate member of the Metro Waste Authority Board.

Two other Councilmembers were sworn in during the meeting: At-Large Councilwoman Connie Boesen and Ward 3 Councilman Josh Mandelbaum, both won their re-election campaigns.

If you are interested in learning more about the City's four Wards, what Ward you live in, who represents you on City council and their contact information, you can visit our website at DSM.city/government.
A Look At First Responders: DMFD Responds To A Record Number Of Calls In 2021

If you called the Des Moines Fire Department in 2021, you weren’t the only one. The Department set a record responding to 30,838 calls for service during 2021. This record call volume continued a steady upward trend in service calls that has seen the number of calls climb over 56% over the past decade.

"Our department is proud to serve the City of Des Moines,” Des Moines Fire Department Chief John TeKippe said. “Our residents know that whether they have a medical or fire-related emergency, they’re going to have some of the best trained and dedicated firefighters taking care of them."

A large part of the increase in call volume has been due to the demand for emergency medical services which made up 66% of the calls in 2021.

“Long gone are the days where the Des Moines Fire Department’s purpose was simply to put out fires,” TeKippe said. “When you think about the fact that the majority of our calls now involve medical services, it opens your eyes to how skilled our firefighters really are.”

The Des Moines Fire Department met the increased demands by adding a new station, Fire Station 11 to serve the City’s northeast side, in November. 

“It’s going to be important to continue to invest in our emergency services infrastructure over the next few decades,” TeKippe said. “We have plans for renovating and updating our existing fire stations to ensure that we can continue to handle the increasing demands for our services that have proven to be a vital part of public safety in Des Moines.”

Additionally, the 98th Class of the Des Moines Fire Academy with 29 recruits started its training on Monday, January 10, 2022.

DMFD Fast Facts:

  • The 30,838 calls in 2021 was an increase of roughly 8.5% from 2020 (28,463 calls)
  • Nearly 20,000 of the calls were EMS related
  • Approximately 900 calls were fire-related incidents (Vehicle fires, structure fires, etc)
  • Of the calls in 2021, roughly 10,000 were other calls (Hazardous materials, public assistance, false alarms, smoke scares, etc.)
  • Des Moines Fire Station 1 was busiest with over 10,000 responses
Important Information To Know During Snow Season
Snowstorms can be unpredictable in Iowa, but one thing that is predictable: they will happen every year. Last month we shared a general overview of how The Department of Public Works handles snowstorms, this month we share more details on how they treat the roads, Odd/Even parking rules and clearing sidewalks during and after a snowstorm.

Plowing City Streets:

As a general rule, while snow is still falling, plow trucks are working on designated main snow routes that are designed so that no one is ever more than four blocks from a snow route. Once the snow stops, the plow trucks transition into plowing all of the residential roads that do not fall into the snow route system.

Unlike many of the suburbs, the City of Des Moines has over 2,200 miles of roads to cover, which is why the City has set up email and text notifications for residents to sign up to receive information in real-time during snowstorms.

Odd/Even Parking System:

Living in a historic City can be interesting. Streets were originally built for horses and hitching posts, not automobiles that are commonplace today. That's why in some of the oldest neighborhoods in Des Moines, the City Council has established a concept known as Odd/Even Side Snow Parking Zones. Signs are posted throughout the four neighborhoods (Carpenter, Drake, Sherman Hill and a portion of River Bend) that are included in Odd/Even parking zones. This system allows the Department of Public Works to properly plow these neighborhoods after a snowstorm. If vehicles are left on the streets, it's impossible for snowplows to clear the street entirely, leading to difficult travel conditions for residents living in these neighborhoods.

To avoid being ticketed or possibly towed:

  • On calendar days ending in odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc.), on-street parking is allowed in front of addresses ending in an odd number from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • On even number days, park in front of addresses ending in an even number (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, etc.) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to avoid being ticketed or possibly towed.

Clearing Sidewalks:

While the snowplows work to clear the roads in a snowstorm event, residents and businesses also have the task of clearing sidewalks. While it can be a hassle, it is part of the process, but more importantly, it provides safe travel for yourself, your neighbors and all residents in the City of Des Moines.

Residents are given 48 hours after the snow stops to clear their sidewalks before they could become subject to administrative penalties of at least $75 that increase with repeated violations.

Low-income seniors and disabled persons unable to remove their snow due to physical and/or financial constraints are encouraged to contact United Way 2-1-1 to locate snow removal assistance available to private property owners in Des Moines.

With any snowstorm this season, Des Moines visitors and residents can track plowing progress and stay prepared for winter weather at DMSnow.org or by following @dmdpw on Twitter and Des Moines Public Works on Facebook.

Residents may also opt-in to receive text alerts by texting DMSNOW to 96000.
City of Des Moines Prepares For Launch Of New Parking System
If you haven't heard already, the City of Des Moines has been working on replacing the parking meter technology downtown. This new system will replace the outdated parking meters currently being used and replace them with multi-meter parking stations (also commonly known as pay stations or kiosks), unique stall marker IDs and a mobile app available on iOS and Android devices.

This parking technology is already available in larger metro's around the Midwest, including Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and Kansas City. It is also available in Ames, Iowa.

How Will The New System Work?

The new system aims to make parking easier and more efficient for all users. In replacement of the individual meter heads, there will be a stall marker ID with a unique six-digit number. These stall marker IDs will be installed on the same posts used today, so parking spots will not change. In addition to the stall marker IDs, the City has begun the installation of 400 new kiosks. The kiosks are one option available to pay for parking.

Using the City GIS mapping technology, there will be at least one kiosk installed on every City block, leaving no parking space less than 200 feet from a kiosk. To pay for parking, you will enter the unique six-digit number associated with your parking spot into any one of the 400 kiosks. The system is built to recognize your unique six-digit number, so you can pay at any of the kiosks, not just the kiosks closest to you.

Another option to pay for parking is through the new ParkDSM mobile app powered by ParkMobile. Similar to the kiosks, you will need to remember your unique six-digit number. The ParkMobile app allows you to pay on the go and will also send you a notification as your time is about to run out.

Payment and Language Options

The multi-meter parking stations (also commonly known as pay stations or kiosks), will accept quarters and every major form of debit and credit card. There will also be three languages to choose from: English, Spanish and French. Users will also be able to send receipts to their phones and receive text updates. For residents who don't have a smartphone, a number is provided for users to call to extend their parking sessions.

The mobile app, ParkDSM, also accepts debit and credit cards. ParkDSM is also available in English and Spanish.

The kiosks are ADA compliant and installed facing the sidewalk, allowing users to safely pay for parking on the sidewalks. The kiosks will also have LED back-lit screens with clear instructions walking the user through the payment process.

When Will The System Be Live?

Below is a map providing timelines for the installation of the new parking systems. The City estimates that all of the individual meters will be replaced by July 2022, with a 100% completion of the rollout by August. We will be providing more information as the rollout begins.

Where Can I Download The App?

City Schedules Additional Budget Q&A's With Residents
The City announced today that a series of public listening posts is scheduled over the next two months to discuss the City budget and the distribution of federal COVID relief funds through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The events will include a brief budget overview by City Manager Scott Sanders and City Finance Director Nick Schaul followed by a question and answer session with residents.

Current dates for Listening Posts:

  • Saturday, January 29, 10 a.m. -11 a.m., Forest Avenue Library, 1326 Forest Avenue
  • Tuesday, February 15, 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., South Side Library, 1111 Porter Avenue

At least two additional meetings will be announced once the dates and locations have been finalized. At-Large Councilwoman Boesen proposed the listening posts earlier this month and suggested that one be held in each of the City's four wards.

The City Council will also participate in a day-long FY23 budget workshop on Wednesday, February 9 starting at 8 a.m. in City Hall. That session is open to the public but will not include a Q&A session.
2022 Focus: Neighborhood Capacity Building
The Monthly Update From Your Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator
Neighborhood Leaders,

The mission of the Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator position is to strengthen the operational capacity of Des Moines' 51 neighborhood associations. Your passion for your neighborhoods is incredible. I have enjoyed the conversations as I continue to learn about each neighborhood association.

To this end, on January 10 I sent a neighborhood needs assessment to neighborhood leaders. The goal of the assessment is to collect feedback that will shape the creation of capacity-building resources and education. Thoughtful responses will provide clear insight into the next steps we can take. The deadline to return the survey is January 31.

If you have any questions or need the survey sent to you again, please don't hesitate to contact me.

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.