Read Connie Boesen’s latest op-ed in the Des Moines Register:
As a lifelong Des Moines resident and member of the Des Moines School Board since 2003, I’ve watched our city make tremendous progress. Des Moines has earned its accolades as a top city to raise a family or grow a business thanks to public and private leaders who have invested their time and resources to make real change.
But as we celebrate the success of Des Moines, it’s clear more than ever that many of its neighborhoods are in dire need of revitalization. There are neighborhoods outside of Des Moines’ core that are plagued by blighted homes, property values in these neighborhoods are stagnating and any claims that the city is a revitalized, thriving community will be met with a skeptical look from the residents in these areas.
The Des Moines Register’s Lee Rood has recently put a spotlight on the fact that too many Des Moines neighborhoods are plagued by blighted homes and the hurdles that neighbors face to address these often-hazardous properties. It’s time for city leaders to take the issue of revitalization outside of the core neighborhoods seriously.
We can begin by learning from programs that are already having an impact in Des Moines. The Neighborhood Finance Corporation’s Front Porch program, for example, provides financing for exterior renovations to properties. Viva East Bank is another example of a coalition that has joined together to revitalize the neighborhoods just east of the Capitol by taking a comprehensive approach that includes housing, business and community development.
These are just two examples that have been implemented to provide a road map to help improve the housing in Des Moines.