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Most Des Moines Neighborhoods are Struggling to Compete Against Polk County Suburbs

DES MOINES, Iowa --  A new report by an urban planning firm shows that most homes in Des Moines have not grown in value in recent years. The report by czb, shows that most of the neighborhoods in Des Moines are struggling to compete against neighboring Polk County suburbs.

"We do have quite a few neighborhoods, and in fact, about 2/3 of the neighborhoods in Des Moines that have changed in valuation over time, to be less growth than what the rate of inflation has been," said City Manager Scott Sanders.

From 2005 to 2017, two thirds of the neighborhoods in Des Moines did not keep up with the rate of inflation, which means buying a home in most neighborhoods in Des Moines during that time period, was not a good investment.

"They would have had a return on investment lower than had they used other investment vehicles," said Sanders. "In other words, had they invested their money differently, there was a good chance they might have done better off."

City and County officials say it will take decades and hundreds of millions of dollars to fix this problem.

"We have several funds," said Sanders. "But, essentially, the city would likely need to either borrow to garner those funds, But I would definitely say look to discussions with the local option sales tax in the future as well."

"A ballpark figure would be about ten million dollars a year to scale this out over the whole city," said Sanders.

"Downtown took almost 20 years," said Tom Hockensmith, Supervisor for Polk County's 4th District. "You know, 20 years ago, you wouldn't have recognized downtown Des Moines. And, it's probably gonna take about the same amount of time and possibly the same type of effort to renovate and revitalize our neighborhoods."