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RDG Planning & Design Wins Two APA Iowa Planning Awards

DES MOINES, IA — The Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA Iowa) awarded two projects, which were completed in collaboration between cities throughout Iowa and RDG Planning & Design. Conferred annually, the APA Iowa Chapter Awards honor programs, plans, tools, processes, reports, or ordinances across multiple categories.

Plan Osky received the Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan and the Downtown Des Moines: Future Forward Vision & Action Plan received the Economic Development Planning Award. The Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan, which is named after one of America’s most well-known planners, recognizes work that advances the science and art of planning, while the Economic Development Planning Award honors efforts to transform economies and stimulate economic development in communities of all sizes.

"This recognition from APA Iowa reflects the hard work and innovative spirit of the people of Oskaloosa and Des Moines, and the commitment of RDG's planners to foster environments where economic prosperity, social equity, and cultural richness can flourish," said RDG Urban Planner and Partner Charlie Cowell, AICP. "We are grateful to help these communities transform their collective aspirations into actional roadmaps, the results of which are sure to have a lasting and meaningful impact."

Plan Osky lays out a road map and vision for the city of Oskaloosa, Iowa’s future in the next 10-20 years. Oskaloosa is a city of about 10,000 located on the Highway 63 corridor between Pella and Ottumwa and about an hour's drive to the Des Moines metro — a locale that puts Oskaloosa in prime position for future growth. Plan Osky leverages innovative ideas to maintain momentum and knowledge of the city as a premier place in Iowa. Deploying an inclusive engagement process, RDG and the city worked together to create shared excitement for the community trajectory, which has carried forward into several planned and unplanned efforts such as an update to the zoning ordinance, new staff hires, a housing study, a multi-jurisdictional strategic plan, and new developments aligning with the plan's vision.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership initiated the Downtown Des Moines: Future Forward Vision & Action Plan in 2021 in collaboration with Bravo Greater Des Moines, Catch Des Moines, Capital Crossroads, City of Des Moines, Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority, Des Moines Downtown Chamber of Commerce, Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, FuseDSM, Operation Downtown, and Polk County. The Downtown DSM: Future Forward Steering Committee worked extensively with the consulting team of RDG, Bâton Global, and Civitas Consultants. The plan provides a guide to organizations including the City of Des Moines, Polk County, business leaders, nonprofits, the development community, and others, to better understand a unified approach for making downtown Des Moines a more complete district. The initiative formulates a community-driven plan, positioning downtown Des Moines for short-term economic recovery and long-term vibrancy and vitality while acknowledging important historical and ongoing related planning efforts. It also envisions actions that can be completed in the next five to 15-plus years.

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