The city of Urbandale hopes to use a collaboration between it and the Des Moines Social Club as a draw to attract residents and businesses to the community, as well as provide more recreational and cultural opportunities to those who already live there.


The City Council last night unanimously approved a resolution identifying the benefits of a collaboration between the city and the downtown Des Moines cultural venue. The vote also affirmed the council's support of the collaboration.


Curtis Brown, the city's economic development director, said he hopes the collaboration will build on what the city already offers current and potential residents.


"We look at this as strengthening our efforts in economic development, arts and recreation," Brown said. "Businesses want to invest in places where they can be sure to secure the talent and workforce they need, and this adds to the quality of life in Urbandale."


Conversations between Urbandale officials and the Social Club staff began last year. Following tours of the Social Club's new downtown headquarters on Mulberry Street and conversations with staff, the city compiled a list of ways the two entities could work together to promote each other.


The agreement is the first of its kind in the metro area, said Zachary Mannheimer, executive director of the Social Club.


Urbandale leaders saw the vision early on, and we were working together for quite some time to do this," Mannheimer said. "Now that we have, I hope this will serve as a model for collaborations with other towns and communities."


Economic development, parks and recreation and senior citizen programming are slated to be the first areas that will benefit from the collaboration. Brown said city officials hope the Social Club will help broaden the scope of arts and culture programming offered through new classes offered to Urbandale residents in the suburb, as well as expand opportunities to senior citizens beyond what they currently have. He also hopes it will provide a way for more Urbandale artists to showcase their work.


To kick off the relationship, Social Club staff will assist the city in lining up entertainment for the Urbandale Streets Alive event on Sept. 21. Also, the Social Club's Fluxx mobile art gallery will be at the Senior Art Show in Urbandale on Sept. 22.


"We're beginning with straightforward, doable projects, and I'm confident more opportunities will arise as the relationship grows," Brown said.


The collaboration will play a role in workforce development efforts by the city and will be a way economic development staff and business leaders can sell the city to potential talent.


"We'll be able to work with businesses so they can tell potential workers to relocate here because they will get to be part of an engaged community with assets like the Social Club," Brown said.


In turn, the Social Club will earn more exposure for its programming, mission and artists.


"One of the major missions of (the Social Club) is to use the arts as a catalyst to create community," Mannheimer said. "Doing an Urbandale evening alongside other DMSC events is a natural community builder."