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Des Moines' New Year's resolutions

Who still has their New Year’s resolution intact? 12 days would probably beat any record of mine!

Now maybe it's not your resolution, but a goal I often hear, especially from young professionals, is to take more action and be a stronger part of their community. This is the year to go with that!

David Elbert’s column for the Des Moines Register got me thinking about upcoming projects for Des Moines in 2012. Here is my take on a few that he notes and a few others to keep in mind:

1) Principal Riverwalk – I know, I know, they've been saying this project would be finished for a while now. This is the year I think it finally happens! Finishing the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates was a great step in getting the riverwalk area ready for completion. This riverwalk will do a lot for Des Moines in making the best use of its most aesthetically pleasing geography.

Here is the page where Principal outlines the projects still to be completed. There is a contact us page for those looking for volunteer opportunities on projects.

2) Walnut Street Transit Mall – Well the first attempt didn't go so well. In fact, the only thing that travels down Walnut Street as it is today is buses. That is all about to change. The plans for Walnut Street plans aim to make it a retail and entertainment attraction area, and hope to open the road to normal traffic as well.

This is something I can't wait for! It should expand the arts and culture feel in downtown Des Moines as well as help make downtown feel complete. I've always felt this is the one area I'm supposed to avoid downtown. It should be quite the opposite soon!

3) The Tomorrow Plan – Led by the Metro Planning Organization, The Tomorrow Plan is aiming to create a 30-year sustainability plan for the Des Moines region. While the process has been underway for some time, the majority of the effort and results will come out in 2012.

There are many opportunities to get involved in this initiative, from a speaker series to public hearing events. This sustainability outlook should be especially important to young professionals as it is taking a look at the best use of the region for the next 30 years. Be sure to visit The Tomorrow Plan online to stay up to speed and see upcoming events.

4) YPC Rain Garden – The Greater Des Moines Partnership's Young Professionals Connection (YPC) had been approved to build a rain garden for downtown Des Moines. The exact location is still awaiting confirmation. Already making plans and mapping out resources is YPC's Impact Downtown committee which will take the lead on the project.

This initiative is a great opportunity for YPC to aid downtown Des Moines in a very tangible way while adding to the sustainability of the area. The Impact Downtown committee meets monthly and is open to anyone wanting to take part in the process. Please visit Young Professionals Connection's calendar online for upcoming meetings and a soon to come webpage for the project.

Now, jump off the couch and take a part in seeing Des Moines take some pretty darn cool steps forward in 2012!

- Jason Wells

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