PROMISED PROJECT: Des Moines Gets Federal Grant
Des Moines has received a $10,000,000 federal grant for the Southeast Connector Project. City officials have been working with state organizations and congressional delegates to get this funding, but it’s not as much as they had hoped for, and that mean they’ve had to make some adjustments.
“We thought that it demonstrated everything,” said Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, “With places people can walk and bike, and with the possibility of everything from our bus routes and everyone going down there.”
Just the promise of this project was enough to get some businesses, like the Capitol Pub and Hotdog Company to move in to the area. The manager says they chose the location because the city was going to opening up and expanding MLK.
Other companies like Kemin Industries decided to stay in the area because of the project. The vice president of the company said the road will back onto their brand new research facility and also help when it comes to future expansion for manufacturing. They say without this project, they might have not been able to stay in Des Moines.
The city originally requested $30,000,000 hoping to use the money for a four lane road that connected the existing W. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway to the Highway 65 Beltway. They received just a third of that.
“We had to scale it back a little and do part of the project. We are going to take one piece of it down, so we`ll get 2 lanes down there to open up the road,” said Mayor Cownie.
Instead of four, the two lanes will run between SE 14th and SE 30th Street.
But the mayor explained that’s just for now, saying “as the dollars come in we`ll open up the rest of it.”
Business owners, residents and city officials agree it’s a step in the right direction.
“We have foreseen exactly what they city is trying to do with this area. We just wanted to get in here and kind of show people we are all about it. All about the expansion of downtown and what they are trying to do about it. We want to be the frontiers if you know what I mean,” said Martin.
The city and state also chipped in to fund the project. The ultimate goal is to run it all the way through to the u-s 65 by-pass. City officials say that could happen either though the city’s capital improvement project, DOT awards, or through federal or state funding.