What is a SSMID?

A SSMID is a defined area within which businesses pay an additional fee to fund improvements and enhanced services within the district’s boundaries. The services provided by SSMIDs are supplemental to those already provided by the municipality.

How is Operation Downtown funded?

Operation Downtown, a Self Supported Municipal Improvement District (SSMID), is funded by downtown property owners through a fee structure based on assessed value. Local hospitals also voluntarily contribute to our budget, which totals nearly $2 million. Operation Downtown is managed by the Downtown Community Alliance.

How does Operation Downtown work with the City of Des Moines?

Though Operation Downtown is not affiliated with the City, we work closely with municipal employees. Throughout the year, our ambassadors provide downtown Des Moines with enhanced services that go beyond basic city services, from downtown event support to holiday lighting.

How long has Operation Downtown existed?

Operation Downtown was developed over 15 years ago by business leaders in an effort to provide enhanced services not provided by the City of Des Moines. Every five years property owners must sign a petition for the services to continue.

How many trash cans does Operation Downtown take care of in Downtown Des Moines?


What are the hours of operation?

7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Monday – Friday
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday – Friday
6:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sundays
Hours are sometimes adjusted to support large events/conventions/holidays, etc.

Is Operation Downtown a city or government program?

We are a 501(c)6 non-profit.

Do residents pay property taxes to fund OD?

No, only taxable downtown commercial property owners.

Are Operation Downtown ambassadors available in the skywalks?

Yes, as well as skywalk security officers.

What happens to the plant material and decor at the end of each season?

Depending on the material, it is reused from year to year, recycled, or donated.

Do Operation Downtown ambassadors write tickets?


When was Operation Downtown created?



Have more questions? Send us an email, we’re here to help!