As part of its mission to inform the community on progress toward Greater Des Moines being recognized as an “Age Friendly City”, project leaders hosted the second annual report to the community on Friday, Dec. 12 at in the Olsen Education Center at Des Moines University.
Des Moines Age Friendly City initiative co-chairs Dr. Yogesh Shah of Des Moines University, Joel Olah of Aging Resources of Central Iowa, Kent Sovern of AARP Iowa facilitated the session that featured reports from Age Friendly Community Leadership team Work Group co-chairs Don Corrigan on Infrastructure; Barb McClintock on Social Capital; Barbara Dietrich Boose on Communications; Rick Kozin, Mary Mincer-Hansen on Health Services and Mary Ann Young the AARP Volunteer lead for the project.
Among the work group highlights shared were an overview of the new Age-Friendly Des Moines Business Designation, a project that will debut in 2015, and a video report of the July Active Living Workshop and walk audit conducted in the Martin Luther King Jr. Park neighborhood by the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute. The Active Living Workshop was a major project of the initiative in partnership with AARP, Healthy Polk 2020 and the City of Des Moines. Viva East Bank is working with community leaders in planning neighborhood improvements in three east-side neighborhoods for 2015 and beyond.
In addition, Pat Boddy of RDG Planning & Design introduced a new partnership with the Urban Land Institute and shared an innovative “Engage” project assessment tool. Kristi Knous of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines and co-chair of the Capital Crossroads project, shared how their five-year vision strategy-dovetails and compliments the Age-Friendly Initiative efforts and envisions greater collaboration between the organizations in 2015 to fulfill their shared vision of making Central Iowa an age-friendly community for everyone.
Keynote speaker Washington, D.C.-based Jana Lynott, an AARP Senior Strategic Policy Advisor presented research on the business case for making communities more “livable.” Her remarks focused on how investment in livable communities priorities – particularly transportation options - has resulted in higher tax revenues, greater economic output, new businesses and jobs, and higher property values for communities across the country.
In 2011, Des Moines became the third U.S. city (following Portland, Ore., and New York City) to join the World Health Organization’s International Network of Age Friendly Cities program, a five-year initiative for communities to earn the WHO designation, “Age Friendly Community.” The initiative is being led by The City of Des Moines in partnership with Des Moines University, Aging Resources of Central Iowa and AARP Iowa.
If you are interested in making Greater Des Moines and even greater place for all ages you’ll want to become involved with the project. You can join one of the work group committees, and to keep up to date on the initiative’s progress at www.facebook.com/AgeFriendlyDesMoines. For more information, call 515-697-1008, or email firstname.lastname@example.org