Des Moines, the capital of the state of Iowa, is a city that has shown what can be done when a specific focus is put on renovation and building an ideal community. Over the last 20 years the city has transformed in many ways, and no small part of that credit goes to an active community and a responsive city council. However, there offering all the best services in the world isn’t going to do any good if no one knows about them, and this lack of knowing what services are available has been a major issue recently.
Perceived Versus Reality
Many frustrations of citizens are from not seeing the city services in particular areas like graffiti removal or roadkill removal. However, the city does offer these services and often has an extremely fast response time – but only if the right phone number is called. They can’t fix something if they don’t know about it and the help will be delayed when the wrong department is called.
Yet there seems to be a major disconnect between what residents know is offered and what actually is – and it’s becoming a major issue that needs to be addressed.
Details matter, and among the services Des Moines has created for residents are the following:
– Graffiti clean up (priority within 24 hours if crude or hate based)
– Roadkill removal
– Pothole repairs (48 hour response)
– Sewer back-ups
– Tree planting (local public spaces)
These are unique services that some cities have but don’t offer on a “respond to calls” basis. The pothole repair is one in particular that has come up at many city council meetings despite the fact that one phone call can make sure any pothole in the city is filled within 48 hours.
These are services aimed at helping the city respond to the need of its residents, but many Des Moines residents aren’t aware just how many options that they truly have.
Getting The Word Out
New efforts and options are being explored on trying to figure out how to get the word out. Des Moines has had no problem getting rave reviews from travelers, visiting authors, and from anyone looking at how a city can transform itself into a true “place to be,” and yet getting the word out on many of these relatively new services has been a harder process and one that needs to be revisited.