The co-chairs of each of the 10 “capitals” of the Capital Crossroads regional planning initiative gathered today at the initiative’s first quarterly meeting of the year to provide brief progress reports on their respective capitals. It’s the second such quarterly meeting since the plan officially launched last September, but the first since Jay Byers and Gene Meyer were tabbed in January to lead the Greater Des Moines Partnership as CEO and president, respectively.
I attended the meeting in an effort to get a sense of how things are going on the ambitious and expansive project. Each capital is well on its way to garnering community input and support and though each is at a different stage of implementation, it seems the groundwork is being laid to tackle the goals of each capital.
Below is a breakdown of some of the highlights from today’s update, but make sure to check out our ongoing coverage of the initiative at businessrecord.com/capitalcrossroads.
1. Combining of multiple planning efforts
Last October, near the launch of Capital Crossroads, Bravo Greater Des Moines released its Community Cultural plan which aimed to improve Des Moines’ cultural scene. Over the past few months, Cultural capital co-chairs Mary Cownie and Brian Laurenzo realized while working with Bravo Executive Director MD Isley that the two groups’ plans were very similar. As a result, Cownie said they have joined forces with Bravo a bit more formally in order to avoid duplication of efforts and to bring the plans directly in line with each other. In very similar fashion two recently launched health initiatives - the Healthiest State Initiative and Blue Zones - have been tied into the Wellness capital. Also, the Tomorrow Plan - the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s effort to plan the region’s long-term future - has been worked into the Physical capital.
2. New ISU president buys in
Corridor capital co-chair Steve Zumbach said today that new Iowa State University President Steven Leath is fully engaged and recognizes the importance of the Corridor capital. Former ISU President Greg Geoffroy was originally named one of the co-chairs, but he announced in March 2011 that he was stepping down from his post as president and Leath took over in January. Since the goal of the capital was to strengthen the Interstate 35 corridor between Ames and Des Moines, having buy-in from the new president was key. “We have the buy-in that we want,” Zumbach said. Zumbach also said the group hopes to select a firm to help market the corridor - a major goal of the capital - by midsummer.
3. Social media effort
In an effort to help spread the word about the Capital Crossroads plan, MD Isley has been tabbed to lead a social media initiative on Facebook and Twitter. Isley asked each capital to provide a contact who will be responsible for providing updates on his or her respective capital. A date has not been set yet for the launch.
Other notes of interest:
- Full reports: the full written quarterly reports will be available online on April 18.
- Next quarterly meeting: July 11, 2012