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The Growth and Expansion of West Des Moines: The Best City in America to Live, Work, and Play

Katherine Harrington

From Katherine Harrington, President & CEO | West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce

West Des Moines is truly a city on the rise, and recent developments highlight why it is the best city in America to live, work, and play. At the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce’ recent sold-out lunch, city leaders came together to celebrate the many achievements and future plans that make West Des Moines a beacon of growth and prosperity.

Remarkable Growth and Development

Over the last several years, the city has seen over a billion dollars in building permit valuations each year, underscoring our strong economic growth and desire to be in West Des Moines.  Significant projects in recent years contributing to this growth include, but not limited to: five Microsoft data centers with a sixth on the way, West Bank’s new corporate headquarters, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, The Cunningham Apartments featuring nearly 200 high end apartments, 595 Towers building featuring Prime & Providence below and high end condos above, Blue Zoo Aquarium, the LEGO store, Putts & Pins, Dave & Buster’s, renovation of the iconic Val Air Ballroom, revitalization of Valley Junction with 30 businesses on the waiting list to get into store front, and the beautiful, new Des Moines University campus.

Economic Strength and Stability

West Des Moines continues to be one of only 100 cities in the country to boast a triple AAA bond rating by both Moodys and Standard & Poor’s, a testament to our financial stability and excellent fiscal management. With an incredible business climate and a consolidated tax rate among the lowest in the metro area, our city continues to attract top businesses and the best and brightest workers. While our average annual growth rate has been around 4.8, last year our growth rate was around 7.8%. The city of West Des Moines’ Conduit Project is a key initiative driving this growth.

Enhancing Quality of Life

West Des Moines is committed to providing exceptional quality of life for its residents. The newly constructed Boathouse at Raccoon River Park, the inclusive playground and sensory wall, lighted pickleball courts at Valley View Park, and the Jamie Hurd Amphitheater are just a few of the new outdoor amenities available. Our city also boasts extensive recreational facilities, including a Topgolf opening soon, a 26.2-mile marathon loop trail, the Athene Pedestrian Bridge, and coming in 2025, the Grand Experience – the largest water park in the Midwest plus convention center, hotel, and entertainment zone.

Commitment to Community and Safety

Public safety is a top priority, with our police force being nationally accredited and equipped with advanced simulation software and Flock cameras for enhanced security. Our community services are unparalleled, with initiatives like the Anytime Food Program, clothing closets, and emergency financial assistance supporting our under-resourced residents.

Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship

West Des Moines is also focusing on environmental sustainability. The Arboretum Legacy Woods project and various green spaces ensure our city remains a beautiful place to live. MidAmerican Energy Company is playing a crucial role in our sustainable initiatives, further enhancing our commitment to a greener future and the new MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex has exceeded expectations as a Midwest hub for a wide variety of sports and educational programming. Major infrastructure projects like the reconstruction of Grand Avenue from 1st to 4th, Ashworth Road, and the Southwest Loop are set to enhance connectivity and accessibility.

Inclusive and Supportive Community

We pride ourselves on being an inclusive city. Our programs cater to the needs of all residents, from free clinics serving 349+ patients to youth recreation programs and childcare services. The commitment to inclusivity is evident in the thousands of community members involved in various initiatives and the support provided to homeless individuals and families in need.

Looking Ahead

As we continue to grow and evolve, the City of West Des Moines remains dedicated to fostering a community where everyone can thrive. With a robust economy, vibrant cultural scene, top workplaces, and unwavering commitment to the well-being of our residents, it’s no wonder why West Des Moines is the best city in America to live, work, and play.

From the smallest business owner to the largest corporation, from our youngest residents to our oldest, West Des Moines is a city that works for everyone, and the WEST is yet to come! #GoWestWDM

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