Two Things that Des Moines Needs

Des Moines has come a crazy long way in the past 5 years. But there are still 2 very important things that I think it's missing.

1. Basic Shopping Downtown (groceries, hardware)

I live in Ankeny. My house is 1 mile from Target, Menards, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, a whole slew of restaurants, and soon - a Best Buy. Within 3 miles I've got a Dahl's, a Hy-Vee, 2 Fareways, and you can pretty much double the bars and restaurants.

Basic shopping and dining just doesn't get much more convenient.

I mean, don't get me wrong, Ankeny is definitely lacking in locally owned establishments - as it's mostly chains. We also don't have a place to get a martini, and we definitely don't have a venue for shows. BUT picking up groceries or some other random thing is crazy convenient. I love that part of Ankeny and quite frankly, I've gotten used to it.

Des Moines just doesn't have that kind of convenience... at least not the neighborhoods I've found.

I think that downtown Des Moines needs something like a Super Target. Maybe put one in the skywalk somewhere? Maybe south of MLK? I dunno. But it needs to happen.

2. Public Transportation

Well, maybe this is actually a reason I hate living in Ankeny, haha. You know how hard it is to get a cab from downtown to Ankeny? And do you know how much it costs? It sucks!

I think Des Moines really messed up with the 235 project. Yeah, it's 1000 times nicer than before, and I really do enjoy driving it. But why, WHY did they not leave room for a rail in the middle of the lanes? Had they left room, we could later add a train that goes from West Des Moines to Ames with stops at Downtown and Ankeny.

But anyway, I think we're starting to move in the right direction. I'm really excited about the rail proposal for downtown. It's small for now, but the possibilities are great.

If they set this up right, they could pretty easily extend that rail to West Des Moines via the airport and Valley Junction. I think including the airport, Valley Junction and West Des Moines would be a huge success. It'd be just like the Light Rail in Minneapolis. If you're not going to have big box shopping downtown, connect your downtown to your big box shopping. And give business travelers easy access to the 2 biggest commercial cities via train.

This could be huge if it goes through. I really hope Des Moines is talking to West Des Moines.

p.s. Here's another link for info on the rail proposal:
I'll disagree with your #1... I live in Beaverdale and there are 4 Ace Hardwares within 3 miles.. And a Dahl's 2 minutes away.. However, I will agree with #2. A LIght Rail system would be HUGE
Yeah I forgot about that Dahl's on the west side. I still think their could be something else closer to downtown to attract more living.

derek posted

To confuse things further, I think you might both be referring to different Dahl's. There's one in Beaverdale AND on Ingersoll, which I think is the one Derek is thinking about. Actually living downtown is still a weird thing. It is expensive without being very convenient.
yeah. that is exactly my point.

derek posted

Isn't there a Dahl's on Ingersoll...

It's amazing that downtown is what it is now. When I left Des Moines for college in 2001, downtown was a place no one had any reason to go-- unless you worked at Prinicple.

In time, as the people come, so will the businesses. Cliche but, it's a catch 22.

OASN: I wonder if Younker's is kicking their corporate butts for shutting down their store that used to be on the corner of 7th and Walnut. I can only imagine what that store could have become if they would have just held on a little longer.

tia posted

I do agree btw.

tia posted

I think your article should be "Two Things that Downtown Needs", though. Not all of Des Moines has the shopping problem. I used to walk to the Gateway to get a lot of my daily groceries, and it was awesome.
yeah, this was originally a much longer blog about why i haven't moved to des moines yet.... i mentioned gateway, which is an awesome place, with a "cool" selection, but not exactly a "large" selection... and also not exactly cheap, ha.

derek posted

Also, Carl's Place has a to-go liquor license, so you can a couple of PBR cans in a brown sack at 1:45 and stumble home.
The word "get" should have made an appearance in there somewhere.
I'm still getting used to the convenience of where I live now (near 29th & Grand), but I definitely drive a lot less than I ever did before, even with a longer commute to work in Johnston. Sometimes I go to Target on the way home from work, but not nearly as often as I did when I lived in Urbandale -- frankly, most of the things I'm looking for I can get at the grocery store, which is about five or six blocks away. Parking sucks for now, but I think that'll be fixed when the new Dahls building is finished. It's less than a block to Palmers, a block to Star Bar, and plenty of other places to spend my cash.

There's a lot of downtown living that looks nice, but it really looks like a trap for younger couples or single people. That's been true of a lot of I could easily imagine if I worked downtown being able to go elsewhere to grab groceries once a week, then bouncing between work and home while being able to go out all the time. But I really don't feel like going out all the the time, and there's only so much space you have in an apartment or condo.

I think tighter neighborhoods -- city-sized lots instead of suburb-sized ones, apartments that integrate well into the area instead of creating their own islands, and less of a commercial/residential divide are going to keep coming back. The current plan is to live where I am for another couple years and then maybe find something more like that... with more space and a yard.

mh posted

You live right by me! off of oralabor by DMACC
won't be shared or displayed