Des Moines Moves Up To No. 4 In ‘Best City’ Ranking

It seems that life in Des Moines, Iowa, just keeps getting better and better. The city earned the No. 4 spot on the 10 Best Cities in America list issued in April by U.S. News & World Report. Just two years ago the Iowa capital city ranked 11th. Now it is solidly in the Top 10.

Not only is Des Moines 4th best, but Iowa itself was ranked as the No. 1 state by U.S. News & World Report. The Midwest farm state might best be known for growing corn and raising hogs. But Iowa has the highest high school graduation rate in the country, and it consistently rates first or second in literacy. It also ranks No. 3 for healthcare, No. 2 for affordable housing and No. 1 in infrastructure. That latter category includes best access to high speed Internet in the nation.

Des Moines Mayor Frank Crownie has been at the helm of his city since 2004. He told reporters he was thrilled that Des Moines achieved such a high ranking from a respected national publication, but was quick to give credit to his entire staff. He also gave a shout-out to the many volunteer community groups in Des Moines that work hard to make this city special.

The city government of Des Moines gets a lot of help from involved citizens that take on a variety of ongoing city improvement projects. For example, the Des Moises Legacy Foundation recently launched a city-wide community playground project that places new playgrounds for kids where needed, and keeps existing playground clean and safe with well-maintained equipment.

Another unique program is the Des Moines ‘Age-Friendly’ Initiative which works to make the city an excellent, service-rich environment for people over the age of 50.

A robust private-public partnership clearly has the city of Des Moines humming along better than ever in 2018.

Des Moines Civic Group Keeps Capital City ‘Pristine’

A Des Moines booster group is celebrating 20 years of operation and listing a number of accomplishments it says have made Iowa’s largest city and capital a fantastic place to live.

In the year 2017 alone, Operation Downtown officials said they removed 657,976 pounds of trash from Des Moines’ streets, parks, lots and byways. They also scrubbed away 1,843 tags of graffiti.

Other good deeds claimed by Operation Downtown include power washing 481 block faces and giving personal assistance to 9,199 people in Des Moines and its suburbs.

When it was established two decades ago, Operation Downtown set a mission dedicated to making Des Moines a “safer, cleaner place to work, live and visit.”

Members of the group say that striving to make this Midwest city of 203,000 “welcoming and beautiful” enhances the quality of life for residents and visitors.

Operation Downtown works under a kind of umbrella organization called The Greater Des Moines Partnership. This is a consortium of civic groups, including 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce. It also enjoys the support of some 6,100 regional private business entities and 320 individual investors.

Volunteers who work for Operation Downtown are called “ambassadors.” They are proud of the fact that they work “behind the scenes” on projects that constantly maintain and improve the Des Moines metropolitan environment.

Their efforts are paying off, say Operation Downtown organizers. Des Moines is frequently listed near the top of America’s most livable cities. On March 12, 2018, it was named “America’s Happiest City” by Wallethub.com. Expedia called Des Moines a “Top “Artistic Town” in the U.S.

Operation Downtown is organized as a Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District which encourages Iowans to sign a petition in support of the work it does. The petition is crucial for Operation Downtown to gain funding for their work, group officials said.