Viva East Bank!

A new coalition for neighborhood revitalization

Viva East Bank!

People from all over the metro are joining efforts to transform three urban core neighborhoods. In partnership with the City of Des Moines, Capitol East, Capitol Park and MLK Jr. Park – collectively, the East Bank -- have recently developed neighborhood revitalization plans, creating action steps to enhance and improve their neighborhoods. The neighborhood plans speak to the assets of each individual area, but common threads opened the door for the three neighborhoods to partner together to make the plans a reality.

While creating the neighborhood plans, many community stakeholders participated in conversations to see if their services, programs or resources could address the needs of residents. Several organizations, including the City of Des Moines, Community Housing Initiatives, GDM Habitat for Humanity, and the Urban Core have committed ongoing resources to carry out plan implementation. However, many more partners are needed to truly make an impact. Thus, Viva East Bank! is a coalition of residents and organizations working collectively across sectors to implement the plans and improve the health and vitality of these neighborhoods. By establishing core work groups (youth, housing, infrastructure, business districts, marketing, and community building), a multitude of projects and programs are beginning to take place, leveraging resources, impacting the lives of residents and changing the future for this part of the city.

A critical piece to the success of Viva East Bank! is revitalizing the housing stock so that residents have stable and safe places to live. One of the overarching goals of Viva East Bank! is improving homes for existing residents and also attracting new residents, restoring a healthier balance in the real estate market.

In a targeted, place-focused way, Viva East Bank! aligns with many broader community initiatives, including United Way’s OpportUNITY agenda, Capital Crossroads and Healthy Polk 2020, as well as goals of the Des Moines Public School system. By pulling together existing groups and initiatives, we can make significant changes in a short period of time. This place-based, collective impact approach opens the door to strong partnerships, sustainable programming and lasting impact. Ultimately, Viva East Bank! wants to see these neighborhoods become thriving places where people want to work, live, and play.

To learn more, visit or contact Amber Lynch at to see how you can be involved.

East Bank: By the Numbers

  • Median household income is $23,833
  • 33% of the population is below the poverty level
  • 34% of the population is under the age of 18
  • 41% of the under 18 population is below the poverty line
  • The elementary schools are all over 90% free & reduced lunch
  • More than 1 in 10 are on public assistance
  • 1 in 3 adults do not have a high school degree
  • Only 1 in 20 adults have a college degree
  • 23% of the population speaks a language other than English at home
  • 1 in 5 homes is in below normal, poor, or very poor condition.