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Friday's Axios Des Moines stories

Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
Apr 9, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Hot homes: 3 houses for sale in Des Moines starting at 230k

A Beaverdale home up for sale at 2614 30th St., in Des Moines. Photo courtesy of Mariah Klemp.

Despite historically low inventory, home sales in Des Moines are still skyrocketing.

February snapshot: Sales increased 10.4% in comparison to 2020 in the Des Moines metro — and prices rose 16.6%, according to stats by DMAAR.

  • The median sale price in Des Moines was $226,000 in comparison to $193,300 last year.
  • Meanwhile, available inventory was only half of last year's offerings — 1,787 homes compared to 3,487.

Here's what's out there:

2614 30th St., Des Moines — $230,000

Why we love it: This cottage-style home makes a statement as soon as you see it. The original lion head door knocker is a one-of-a-kind piece and there's loads of old-school charm throughout the house, including the antique fireplace.

Neighborhood: Beaverdale

Realtor: Mariah Klemp at RE/MAX Concepts

Specs: 3 bed, 1 bath, 1,605 square-feet

Notable features: The two-car garage, which can be hard to find in Beaverdale, and a partially finished lower-level that can serve as an extra hangout space.

230 62nd Ct, West Des Moines — $749,900

Why we love it: If you love to entertain, this beautiful home has everything you need and more. Plus: It's near West Des Moines' hot spots (and a short drive to Trader Joe's).

Neighborhood: Jordan Creek-area

Realtor: Aly Williams at Realty ONE Group

Specs: 6 bed, 5 bath, 4,293 square-feet

Notable features: This huge home has a theater room, double-island kitchen and gorgeous covered patio with an outdoor kitchen for all your summertime parties.

4795 Windsor Cir., Pleasant Hill — $692,900

Why we love it: This lush home has tons of windows and natural lighting to see the greenery outside, plus the location is any golfer's dream.

Neighborhood: Copper Creek

Realtor: Aly Williams at Realty ONE Group

Specs: 4 bed, 4 bath, 2,941 square-feet

Notable features: Heated floors, a wine refrigerator and the huge theater room makes it easy to never leave your home again.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
Apr 9, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Iowa bridges rank among worst in U.S.

Chart: Axios visuals; numbers via NBI, data compiled by ARTBA

Iowa is among the worst in the nation for percentage of bridges that are in poor condition, according to a 2021 report by The American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

Why it matters: Deteriorating bridge conditions can hamper travel or result in load restrictions. Dangerous bridges have to shut down altogether.

By the numbers: Out of 23,982 bridges in the state, 19% are in poor or worse condition, according to federal inspection reports.

  • When it comes to overall number of bridges in poor condition, Iowa ranks #1 in the nation, with 4,571 needing repair or replacement. (But keep in mind — Iowa has a lot of bridges.)

What they're saying: We have a "tremendous" number of small bridges in rural areas that are classified as poor, said Andrea Henry, spokesperson for the Iowa DOT.

  • Due to funding constraints, Henry said the Iowa DOT prioritizes its bridge repairs based on maintaining optimal mobility in the state.

In Polk County, the most traveled structurally deficient bridge is 2nd Avenue over Birdland Avenue, according to ARTBA.

State of play: President Biden has proposed a $2 trillion+ infrastructure plan that includes $155 billion for repairing roads and bridges.

  • The plan's fate is unknown as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to fight against the plan "every step of the way."

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

Iowa ranks in top 10 of nation's recyclers

Photo: Epics/Getty Images

Iowa is the 10th best state for recycling, according to a new report funded by the Ball Corporation.

Why it matters: We’re making progress towards long-time waste management and environmental goals.

  • Yes, but: We still have a long way to go.
Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
Apr 8, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Des Moines realtor fights for industry safety 10 years after colleague's unsolved murder

Ashley Okland, a Des Moines-area realtor, was murdered 10 years ago during an open house. Photo courtesy of Jen Stanbrough.

On April 8, 2011, Des Moines realtor Jen Stanbrough was showing houses like any other day when her phone began to flash repeatedly with calls and texts — but, still in work mode, she waited to answer.

When she finally did, she expected to hear something had gone wrong with a closing. Instead, a fellow realtor told her that her close friend, Ashley Okland, had been shot twice at her open house in West Des Moines and pronounced dead at the hospital.

Polk County deaths jumped almost 20% in 2020 thanks to COVID

Data: Polk County Medical Examiner; Chart: Axios Visuals

Polk County’s deaths increased almost 20% last year, up 706 from 2019, according to a report presented to supervisors Wednesday by Polk County medical examiner Joshua Akers.

  • Statewide deaths were up by almost 5,000, or just over 16%, according to a separate preliminary report released last week.

Why it matters: It's a sobering reminder of the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the importance of vaccines and maintaining precautions like wearing a mask.

Prison sentence for Iowa face mask fight raises questions about mandatory minimums

Mark Dinning was injured in a fight in November that started over a face mask. His alleged attacker, Shane Michael, faces a mandatory 10 year prison sentence. Photo: Polk County District Court

A Des Moines man accused of starting a fight after being confronted over wearing his face mask incorrectly has been convicted of a felony and faces a mandatory 10 years in prison, as first reported by Iowa Capital Dispatch.

Why it matters: The case raises the question about whether the punishment fits the crime and could result in legislative action, Bob Rigg, a Drake University law professor told Axios.