A feasibility study presented Saturday by RDG Planning & Design on behalf of a subcommittee of the Capital Crossroads effort identified strong desire for a multipurpose Latino center in central Des Moines.

The study was financed by Polk County government and four Greater Des Moines companies: Bankers Trust Co., DuPont Pioneer, Principal Financial Group Inc. and Veridian Credit Union.

Highlights of the study include:

  • At least 6.7 percent of Greater Des Moines residents are Latinos, most of them Mexican Americans, and the Latino population has doubled in the past 10 years.
  • To be successful, a Latino center should partner with existing agencies to provide services.
  • The center should be built in central part of Des Moines because that is where most Latino families live. It should be on a bus route, highly visible and compatible with adjacent properties.
  • It could be built new or remodeled, but the site should be 2.5 acres and the building should be 25,000 square feet, with the ability to expand later on. The cost of that sized facility was estimated at $3.6 million to $5 million.
  • Recommended funding formula for operating expenses: 35 to 45 percent from United Way of Central Iowa or other service or education grants;15 to 20 percent from membership dues, rental fees or fundraising; 15 to 25 percent from cultural grants, private foundation grants or corporate sponsorship; and 15 to 20 percent  from activity or service fees.

The success of the project depends upon "community unification and leadership," and the next critical step will be selecting a leadership team and forming a nonprofit organization to work toward the center, the report recommends. About 50 people attended the presentation Saturday.

The report can be found here.