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Mission, Vision and Values

MissionThe parks and recreation system that is so well loved by those that use it is no accident—it is the result of thoughtful planning that articulates a shared vision of our parks, trails and natural resources.

This vision was last captured in our 1995 comprehensive plan known as Parklands, A Celebration of Des Moines’ Community Spirit. This 20-year-old document successfully guided our department and system through significant changes, contributing to Des Moines being recognized nationally as a special place to live, work, play and visit.

In 2017 the City began planning a new vision for parks and recreation in the city. The new vision is called LiveDSM because so much of what Des Moines Parks and Recreation does is to help people live a better quality of life and make Des Moines a place where many people choose to live their lives.

We have a commitment to cultural and organizational change at Des Moines Parks and Recreation. Change is necessary to raise the organization’s operations to a high level and make it well-resourced, with the best management policies and procedures, so the world-class system it builds will stand the test of time.

The following desires paint a more detailed picture of our vision: equitable, effective, healthy, vital, and responsive:

  • The system leads in achieving equity goals for the community
  • The parks and recreation system is everywhere and a fundamental part of everyone’s daily living
  • Programming addresses goals of healthy living: active, reflective, social and educational
  • Trails connect in all ways—especially among neighborhoods, parks and schools; everyone is within a ten-minute walk of a park or trail
  • The park system’s care of natural areas, biodiversity and the environment demonstrate stewardship ideals; nature is always at hand
  • World-class facilities help set Des Moines’ national identity and character
  • Parks and trails use the latest technology for programs, promotion, security and system management
  • The system attracts and keeps new businesses and young adults in the city
  • Operational and maintenance needs are in sync with the system’s funding
  • Neighborhood parks are the system’s backbone