Apr 25, 2022 - News

Des Moines wants to strengthen its neighborhood associations

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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Less than half of Des Moines' 51 neighborhood associations are incorporated, Heather Tamminga, an outreach coordinator for the city, told council members last week.

Why it matters: Incorporated groups have more legal protections, tend to have greater oversight and can enter into contracts.

  • Some of the associations that aren't incorporated don't have bank accounts, and have been keeping cash designated for the neighborhood in groups leaders' homes, Tamminga said.

State of play: DSM has for decades recognized neighborhood associations, which advocate for civic improvements.

  • Tamminga was hired about six months ago as part of a larger goal to help strengthen them.

Between the lines: The city wants the 30 neighborhood groups that aren’t incorporated to complete registrations  as nonprofit entities by June 30, Tamminga said.

  • Templates are being provided by city staff to help associations adopt bylaws and set policies.

What's next: DSM is offering financial incentives to achieve this goal.

  • Incorporated neighborhood groups with bank accounts can qualify for up to $1,000 through a new city grant program that begins July 1.
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