Authored by Katherine Harrington, President & CEO | WDM Chamber of Commerce
On Thursday, May 4, 2023, Mayor of West Des Moines, Russ Trimble, spoke at the Citizen of the Year event and discussed the growth and expansion of the city at the annual State of the City Address. Trimble mentioned the city passed a FY 24 budget that adds more police officers and firefighters to keep citizens safe, while at the same time cutting the city tax rate 5 cents per thousand. He also mentioned that with the recent property tax assessments, the city stands ready to take further action to reduce the city tax rate next year to do its part to hold down property taxes. Trimble also plans to call on the counties, schools, and other taxing jurisdictions to help.
Mayor Trimble emphasized important economic development projects including the Ginger East and Ginger West Microsoft Data Centers, which are each in phase 2 of 6 phases with each phase having a taxable valuation of $318 million. He also mentioned the Des Moines University Campus which is almost complete, Dave and Busters and Ruth Chris Steakhouse, which are due to open late summer or early fall, West Bank Corporate headquarters, which should be completed at the beginning of 2024, and Top Golf, which is moving forward with city approvals. Trimble also discussed the Grand Experience, which is moving forward with its development agreement. The Grand Experience is an indoor water park, hotel, convention center that is now 3 times the size of the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City. The waterpark will come with breweries, restaurants and other amenities and is slated to begin work down on Grand Avenue this year.
Trimble noted because of the city’s economic development, which has significantly expanded the tax base, the schools, counties, and other taxing jurisdictions are able to have lower tax rates, giving West Des Moines one of the lowest consolidated (overall) tax rates in the metro.
Trimble also highlighted the rapid growth and expansion of the Historic Valley Junction District, which now has 30 businesses on the waiting list for storefronts. He also discussed the city’s new housing initiatives in Valley Junction aimed at revitalizing the affordable housing stock, beautifying the residential neighborhoods, and helping low-and-moderate-income families become first-time homebuyers. Finally, Trimble mentioned that the city conduit project would be completed yet this year, that all disturbed ground would be completely restored before the project is all done, and that service from the first provider in the conduit should be available to people within 6- or 7-months following completion of each section of conduit.
Trimble discussed the importance quality of life amenities continue to play in workforce and economic development from the MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex to the Jamie Hurd Amphitheater to the Raccoon River Park Boathouse. Trimble announced city plans for a third sheet of ice at the RecPlex as well as the start of construction of the Athene Pedestrian Bridge this month. With the growing popularity of pickleball, Trimble noted the city recently added eight new lighted pickleball courts at Valley View Park. Last, Trimble mentioned planning and design of the marathon loop trail, a single-track trail in Southwoods Park and other planned quality of life amenities continue moving forward.
Trimble highlighted the city’s continued efforts on diversity, equity, and inclusion with the ever-growing Dr. MLK Jr. Celebration, the new Juneteenth Day celebration, and a new educational program led by Audrey Kennis. The city also continues to earn high marks around its municipal equality index, scoring a 91%, as it continues to work towards being one of the most welcoming cities in the nation.
Trimble concluded with various awards and recognitions the city received including but not limited to the SBA Small Business Community of the Year, the Business Record’s City Government Most Conducive to doing Business for the 25th year in a row, the Technology Association of Iowa’s Technology Community of the Year and the ETC Institute’s Leading the Way Award for outstanding achievement in the delivery of services to residents.
Trimble said the state of the city is strong and we continue to build momentum as we work to make West Des Moines the best city in America in which to live, work, play, raise a family and one day retire.