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Old 07-12-2014, 11:29 AM
 
1,035 posts, read 848,117 times
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With its growling population, much improved downtown, and sprawling suburbs, do you think Des Moines could be the next boomtown? If so, what do you think the maximum population capacity could be for Des Moines? Is there much room for expansion in the city proper or will most of the growth take place in the suburbs? I've heard that in the future there will be massive development in between Ankeny and Ames. Finally, what are your thoughts on Des Moines potentially becoming a boomtown? Do you like this idea or not?

I feel because of Des Moines always constantly making these "Best of" lists and the legalization of same-sex marriage, and perception as a low-crime city and a great place to raise a family that the population will continue to escalate. I can kind of already sense the population increase when I'm around town. There seems to be more traffic and businesses seem to be packed more regularly. While I think this growth could be good for the city, I think Iowa's reputation as "flyover country" has its advantages such as lower real estate prices and keeping the riff-raff out. With an increasing population, real estate prices (and everything else with it) could soar and crime could rise. I don't see Des Moines itself ever eclipsing 215,000 people (it's just above 206,000 right now), but the suburbs are going to blow up. I'm not too keen on the growth myself because I think I will eventually get priced out of the city.

I have a "love-hate" relationship with Des Moines myself. I consider myself fortunate to live in a place I can afford on paltry wages, but I absolutely loathe the weather. I hate that 13 degrees can feel like -5 and how 78 degrees can feel like 87. And especially in a flood year it just seems like there's no relief from bad weather. It's either too hot, too cold, too icy, too snowy, too windy, too rainy, or a potential for tornadic activity with just a couple of nice weeks interspersed here and there. I realize weather is a subjective thing and to most it might not seem that bad here, but it's the thing I hate the most about living here. I'm sure the weather is a big deterrent for those who might be considering moving here and don't, but Des Moines is definitely a city on the rise. What say you? Will it keep growing or fizzle out soon?

Last edited by maniac77; 07-12-2014 at 11:37 AM..
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
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Yes, it's growing, and for once, I'm riding the crest of the wave instead of being one of the last ones left to start turning out the lights. (I'm from Michigan and moved to Ohio, rustbelt states).

With growth, there's always a downside. I try not to think about that because I remember watching entire malls die, the saddest being Portside of Toledo, which is now COSI north, so at least it's no longer a vacant shell. Don't get me started on Detroit. I'm old enough to remember Christmas shopping at J L Hudson's in downtown and can remember Springhill before it burned in the riots of the late 1960s.

On the other hand, downtown Des Moines is wonderful! It's alive! I hear certain groups complain because there's not enough of their particular venues (not enough fine art galleries is one complaint) but so what? There aren't entire blocks of boarded up buildings! Night time doesn't bring out hundreds of zombies and meth heads: it brings out employed people ready to spend cash and have a good time, and with the three new hotels open, that's only going to help the growth.

That's how I see it. I'm glad to be here.
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Old 07-12-2014, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Calera, AL
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One relatively minor gripe I have about Des Moines is that while it's one of the most family-friendly metros in the nation, there just doesn't seem to be a whole lot of stuff geared for kids, at least not in proportion for a metro of its size. Blank Park Zoo is definitely leaps and bounds improved over what it was even 10-15 years ago, but still leaves a little bit to be desired. If the renovations/improvements continue, then it may well be a zoo worthy of a city of DSM's caliber in the coming years. As far as I can tell, there's no true children's museums (heck, the general museum scene is pretty bland to begin with). If they can designate a children's museum, bring in a couple of dino skeletons and whatever cool old things kids dig, it very well could be a big hit for kids and parents alike. Maybe an annual Renaissance festival would be a fun family event, too.

As for actual growth, the vast majority of DSM's growth has been in the suburbs, and will continue to be that way for some time. It's been essentially closed in to the west and north, leaving only the east and south to expand, where only a small amount of the metro's growth has been occuring. Downtown DSM is sort of a mini Austin or Portland in that it's quasi-hipster, attracting young urban professionals, but that's not really growth, it's just a "get together".

One way for DSM proper to get a surge is to create a satellite campus for the University of Iowa in Des Moines. Easier said than done, yes, but it would create quite a few jobs (instructors/professors are normally a fairly small portion of a university's staff). Granted, it could create some tension with Ames/ISU (being only 30-35 minutes away) but I don't think it would directly compete with it, since ISU is a ginormous land-grant school, and a hypothetical UIDM would probably be more like UNI in size and mission.

Finally, I don't consider Des Moines a "boom town". The growth has rarely been explosive - it's been solid and consistent more than anything, but at this rate, it could reach the 1M mark in about 20-25 years. As long as there's jobs to be had, room to expand, and natural disasters aren't a factor (granted, flooding has been an issue these past couple of decades) there's no reason for the growth to slow down.
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Old 07-12-2014, 06:16 PM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
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I think it's already booming on a small scale. Living there in 2012, I heard consistent ads on te radio for decent employment opportunities. I've never heard that anywhere else.

The downtown has really shaped up. It is convenient and cheap to get in and out of and has a density not seen in many cities this size. The COL is very reasonable for the quality of life and the pay of the jobs.
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Old 07-12-2014, 07:47 PM
 
379 posts, read 423,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fezzador View Post
Finally, I don't consider Des Moines a "boom town". The growth has rarely been explosive - it's been solid and consistent more than anything, but at this rate, it could reach the 1M mark in about 20-25 years.
Des Moines is more of a "Vampire Town" that is sucking the blood right out of rural Iowa. Once the small towns completely dry up and there's nothing left to suck, I doubt Des Moines' growth will sustain its recent historical pace. Sure, a few out-of-state transplants will continue to make their way into Des Moines, but the real driver of its substantial growth (small-town Iowa kids) will eventually fade away.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:09 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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I am hoping we see some growth on the southern rim of the metro, actually - Norwalk, Carlisle, Cumming, etc. Most the astronomical growth has been focused on Waukee and western Urbandale/Clive/WDM so far, but I'm thinking there will be more in Altoona/Bondurant, Ankeny (of course) and especially Polk City, which is in such a desirable location it's just begging to become a ritzy lake suburb.

I don't know that Ames and Des Moines will ever merge, at least not in the foreseeable future. It's just too far away. Best case scenario, Des Moines grows to about 1-1.5 million and plateaus until the next boom or bust.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fezzador View Post
As far as I can tell, there's no true children's museums (heck, the general museum scene is pretty bland to begin with). If they can designate a children's museum, bring in a couple of dino skeletons and whatever cool old things kids dig, it very well could be a big hit for kids and parents alike. \
THIS, I would love Des Moines invest in a great children's museum (not just the Science Center). The Art Center is one of the city's biggest assets IMO, but that alone isn't a strong enough anchor for a real museum scene.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:16 PM
 
18 posts, read 48,899 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funksoulbro View Post
Des Moines is more of a "Vampire Town" that is sucking the blood right out of rural Iowa. Once the small towns completely dry up and there's nothing left to suck, I doubt Des Moines' growth will sustain its recent historical pace. Sure, a few out-of-state transplants will continue to make their way into Des Moines, but the real driver of its substantial growth (small-town Iowa kids) will eventually fade away.
I am not sure if this is really true. I am attaching a couple of Census links about migration. The American FactFinder shows how the Des Moines metropolitan population has increased since 2010 to 2013. It has increased by about 30,000 people, with about half of that from more births than deaths within Des Moines. 4,500 is due to international immigration and 11,000 is from domestic migration. However, the domestic migration does not really tell you where those people are coming from (are they coming from other urban centers in Iowa, rural areas in Iowa, or out of state migration?).

The second link is not from the exact same time period (2007-2011) and I am only going to talk about Polk County, but I think it also generally works for the other counties in Des Moines' metropolitan areas. I think it hints that it is not so much rural population from Iowa that is providing Des Moines growth by domestic migration, but rather migration from other states and other urban areas in Iowa. It breaks migration down by county at a national level, and you can see how many people moved to and from Polk County by looking at every county in the United States. In Iowa, about half of the countries show that people moved to them from Polk County and about half show that people moved to Polk County. Two of the biggest (maybe the biggest) sources of population growth were Dubuque County (434), Linn (623), and Black Hawk (427). Those three counties are not rural. Polk lost quite a bit of population to Johnson County and Dallas County (although Dallas' growth wouldn't impact Des Moines' metropolitan growth).

I am not going to do the math for each county, but my estimation is that Polk County loses about as much it gains from rural Iowa counties. This, to me, indicates that Des Moines' growth is much more from urban Iowa counties, not rural, as well as counties outside of Iowa. Rural Iowa is probably losing its population more to other states than to Des Moines.

Again, I have not really done the math to know if my assumptions are correct. I am only estimating by placing my browser over the counties. Actually doing the math may yield different results. This is also based on the assumption that the Census' estimations are correct.

http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/...xhtml?src=bkmk
US County Migration Patterns

Edit: as an aside, after looking at things a bit more, it seems to me that Ames and Iowa City are the cities that really suck in people from rural counties. And I think that makes sense since Iowa State and U Iowa are located in those cities. They got a lot of young people (including from Des Moines) to move to them, and then a lot of those students move out of state. Again, I am just estimating, not actually tallying the numbers.

Last edited by jthomas.7489; 07-12-2014 at 09:35 PM..
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:47 PM
 
379 posts, read 423,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jthomas.7489 View Post
Again, I have not really done the math to know if my assumptions are correct.
I've lived in two small rural Iowa cities, each situated 70-80 miles from Des Moines. Both of those towns are dying fast, and both of those towns have seen a large number of 20-somethings move into Des Moines. Rural Iowa is a depressing scene these days, but Des Moines is cashing in big on all that misery.

Good for them. Who needs small farm towns anyway? Especially when you can have cookie-cutter houses, apartments, strip malls, and office parks arranged in neat geometric patterns along a place that was agricultural land just a few years ago. I love sprawl, and the Des Moines juggernaut can't seem to produce enough of it.
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:21 PM
 
Location: Lakeland, Florida
6,318 posts, read 10,997,355 times
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Evidently the hotels and motels in the Des Moines area, already think it is a boomtown. I'm in Des Moines tonight on my way West. I was very surprised how expensive rooms are here. Des Moines seems very nice, but nothing I see warrants such expensive rates. These rates rival some of the communities on the East Coast, at least outside of the biggest cities.
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:43 PM
 
18 posts, read 48,899 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funksoulbro View Post
I've lived in two small rural Iowa cities, each situated 70-80 miles from Des Moines. Both of those towns are dying fast, and both of those towns have seen a large number of 20-somethings move into Des Moines. Rural Iowa is a depressing scene these days, but Des Moines is cashing in big on all that misery.

Good for them. Who needs small farm towns anyway? Especially when you can have cookie-cutter houses, apartments, strip malls, and office parks arranged in neat geometric patterns along a place that was agricultural land just a few years ago. I love sprawl, and the Des Moines juggernaut can't seem to produce enough of it.
Some counties are definitely losing population to Des Moines. That might be your county. The census numbers indicate that it is much more complicated, however. A lot of rural counties are actually gaining population from Des Moines, but seem to be losing it to Iowa City/Ames or to other states. So, I don't think it is fair to say that Des Moines' growth will slow/stop when the rural counties are empty. The most significant growth is from natural increases, and it seems that growth from other urban areas in Iowa, international immigration, and migration from other states in the United States might be more important than growth from rural Iowa counties. I might be a bit off on the numbers though, because I am just estimating.
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