RECORD YEAR: Des Moines’ Bragging Rights

At its annual dinner Monday, the Greater Des Moines Partnership said that 2013 was one of the city’s best years ever.

Des Moines ranked high on numerous national polls because, according to the Partnership, the numbers don’t lie.

It’s an annual dinner, but there was a rare air to it.

“By any measure, it was a record year in economic development,“ said Jim Wallace, former chair of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

The Partnership was boasting.

“The economy across the region has really been cooking and the rest of the region has really come to notice what we’re doing in central Iowa,” said current chair, Jay Byers.

In 2013, Des Moines was applauded by Forbes, Business Journals and Kiplinger’s for everything from our Farmer’s Market to our business climate, from our downtown to our quality of life.

“I think we all like reading lists, you know,” Wallace smiled, “top ten lists of any nature.”

Des Moines made those lists because the Partnership proudly presented the numbers to the publications, and they stood out among other American cities.

Numbers like the $385,000,000 the Des Moines area invested in new capital projects last year,  22 local business expansions, 1300 new and retained jobs.

“We’re continually pitching the Des Moines story nationally and internationally,” said Byers, “and when those rankings come out, we share those with our (business) prospects.”

The numbers say no area is hotter than downtown.

$164,000,000 in new capital projects, 300 new jobs, 6 new businesses, events booked on 71 different days that drew 850,000 people.

“If your core deteriorates,” Wallace said, “then the entire economic development of the entire region suffers, so it’s important to have a good downtown core.”

You can’t help but wonder what we’re doing so right.

“One is we’ve got a highly-skilled workforce,” said Byers, “two is we’ve got a very low cost of living which is about 10% below the national average.”

Good tax rates, pleasing aesthetics, and low crime help, too.

New projects from the Y to Walnut Street are just underway, so the Partnership says the future is even brighter, and when the time comes, they’ll have those numbers, too.

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