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Group hopes to open public market in downtown Des Moines

September 4, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines group is announcing preliminary plans for a public market at the downtown site of a high-profile but struggling arts and entertainment organization.

The group, which includes business organizations, the city of Des Moines, Polk County and Drake University, announced Wednesday it would study how to transform the Des Moines Social Club’s building into a public market featuring local food, art, entertainment and educational opportunities. Before its current use, the building built in 1937 served as headquarters for the Des Moines Fire Department.

Social Club officials have acknowledged the organization faces serious problems and in a statement Wednesday said, “Something new and wonderful is coming, and we are thrilled to have been part of its emergence.”

In its announcement, the group leading the new effort noted successful public markets in cities such as Seattle, Boston and Milwaukee.

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