Press Release - 2019
August 15, 2019 - Urbandale Completes Waterford Trail Project, Surpasses 50 Miles of Paved Trails
Urbandale, IA – The City of Urbandale recently completed a quality-of-life project bringing the total amount of paved trails in Urbandale to more than 50 miles. The addition of a 10-foot-wide trail along the north side of Waterford Road from 156th Street to 170th Street continues to enhance Urbandale’s long-standing commitment to beautiful parks, open green space, and accessible amenities for all residents.
“The new trail along Waterford Road is a great addition for trail users in Urbandale,” said Jan Herke, Director of Parks & Recreation. “It will help connect residents to Waterford Park—and the new Disc Golf course that will be completed there this summer.”
Urbandale dedicates funds each year to beautify and enhance public spaces all across the community. The City’s Capital Improvements Program (CIP) prioritizes the City’s maintenance and development of public art, buildings, equipment, technology, parks, bridges, sidewalks, storm sewers, streets, street lighting, traffic signals, and water systems.
The CIP Committee consists of nine members: two City Council members, a Parks and Recreation Commission member, a Planning and Zoning Commission member, one member from a school district in Urbandale, and four Urbandale residents. The Committee meets yearly to review and take resident input on the CIP. Detailed cost information and funding sources are identified for each project and the CIP is submitted to the City Council for final approval.
“Those of us lucky enough to live near parks, open spaces, and greenways know the joys they bring,” said Herke. “Parks, greenways, and trails enable and encourage people to exercise, improve psychological and social health, and help build healthy and strong communities.”
The City of Urbandale maintains an ever-expanding park system with more than 50 parks, 50 miles of trails, and over 1,000 acres of parkland. Urbandale is also home to the only indoor public swimming pool in the metro, a bustling Senior Recreation Center, and numerous sports fields, playgrounds, shelters, and rentable facilities.
July 30, 2019 - Urbandale Hosting Public Forum on LOSST
Urbandale, IA – The City of Urbandale is hosting a Local Option Sales and Services Tax (LOSST) informational public form at the Urbandale Public Library on Saturday, August 3 at 9:30 AM.
“We've set up this forum to help answer questions about LOSST and how it would impact Urbandale residents,” said A.J. Johnson, City Manager. “Voting on LOSST will take place on Tuesday, August 6, from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM.”
The voting location for Urbandale residents in Polk County can be found on the voter information website.
In Urbandale, the City Council has determined that at least 50 percent of the LOSST revenue would be used for property tax relief and the rest of the funds would be used for infrastructure and quality of life projects like improvements to streets, storm sewers, parks, trails, public facilities and equipment. Funds could also be used for public safety, economic development and any other lawful purpose determined by the Council.
The LOSST was recently approved in the cities of Des Moines, West Des Moines, Altoona, Windsor Heights, Pleasant Hill and Alleman. The 1 percent LOSST is approved by voters at the city or county level and is only collected on items that are currently subject to sales tax. More than 95 percent of Iowa communities have LOSST and every year visitors to Polk County would generate additional LOSST revenue for Urbandale.
Learn more about LOSST at www.Urbandale.org/LOSST
July 30, 2019 - Urbandale's National Night Out
Urbandale, IA – The Urbandale Police Department is hosting the 11th annual National Night Out Celebration on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 from 5:00-7:00 PM at the front lot of the Urbandale Police Department (3740 86th Street). The theme for the celebration this year is “OURS” in appreciation of the community support the Police Department has received over the past year.
The celebration will include the Iowa National Guard Black Hawk helicopter landing near Martin Field, K-9 demonstration, giant slide, bounce house, dunk-a-cop tank, fire safety house, and more. The event is FREE to the public. The public is encouraged to park at Walker Johnston Park.
National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Last year, Urbandale's National Night Out celebration was awarded with being the 8th largest in the country based on the city population category of 15,000 - 50,000.
July 29, 2019 - Urbandale Police Investigating Shooting
Urbandale, IA – Urbandale Police Department patrol officers responded to investigate a report of shots fired at 7618 Camelot Drive on July 28 at approximately 1:36 PM.
Officers arrived and found an adult male suffering from gunshot wounds at the scene. The victim was transported to a local hospital to be treated for his injuries. At this time, the victim’s injuries are considered non-life threatening. The victim has been identified as 21-year-old Kiyee Handson.
At this time, this appears to be an isolated incident but the investigation is ongoing. Urbandale Detectives continue to investigate and more information will be given as it becomes available. For more information please contact Sgt. Chad Underwood with the Urbandale Police Department at 515-331-6818.
June 6, 2019 - Mosquito Control Program to Begin This Week
Urbandale, IA – Mosquito spraying in Urbandale neighborhoods will begin at the end of this week, and continue until autumn, or when mosquito population thresholds are no longer exceeded. City staff will be treating area neighborhoods with EPA-approved mosquito control product between the hours of 9:30 PM to 3 AM.
Spraying will be done with City of Urbandale trucks, weather permitting, with no rain or winds over 10 miles per hour. All City trucks are white, with a blue diamond Urbandale logo, and will have an amber warning light blinking to alert residents that City staff are in the area.
While spraying reduces the mosquito population, it is still recommended that residents use mosquito repellent when outside early in the morning and late in the evening. Residents can do their part in the battle against mosquitos by eliminating sources of standing water such as disposing of old tires, any type of containers that collect and hold water, and maintaining gutters. Pet dish and bird bath water should be changed every two days.
City staff follows the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommended label rates of application and procedure for this product.
Residents that would like to opt-out of mosquito spraying near their home should e-mail their name and address to Kevin James, Assistant Director of Parks at email@example.com. Residents with any questions concerning this program should contact the Urbandale Parks and Recreation Department at 515-331-6799.
May 28, 2019 - DeJong to Join the City of Urbandale as Assistant Director of Economic Development
Urbandale, IA – Aaron DeJong (dee-YOUNG) will join the City of Urbandale team as Assistant Director of Economic Development in July.
A native of Newton, Iowa, Aaron attended the University of Northern Iowa, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Community and Economic Development. He received his Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning with a concentration in Economic Development from the University of Iowa. Aaron worked for the cities of Coralville and Dubuque in Iowa. In Dubuque, he led efforts to redevelop and revitalize historic districts and buildings downtown which helped support the successful investment and job creation of IBM in that city.
In 2012, DeJong assumed the role of Director of Economic Development in the City of Louisville, Colorado (population 21,000) which is located between Denver and Boulder. In Louisville, he managed the economic development activities of this growing suburban city including business retention and expansion, redevelopment and new investment recruitment.
“Aaron made his mark on Iowa economic development with his role in Dubuque’s successful recruitment of IBM to our state,” said Assistant City Manager/Director of Economic Development Curtis Brown. “I am pleased we are able to return his talent to Iowa to support Urbandale’s economic development and continued investment in the Urban Loop.”
DeJong will begin his work in mid-July. Aaron and his family will make their home in Urbandale.
“Urbandale continues to successfully provide value to its businesses. The community knows how to leverage its assets of location, infrastructure and accessibility,” said Aaron DeJong. “I am excited to be coming back home to Iowa, and in particular, Urbandale. The Urbandale community is poised to maintain and expand on its strong business-friendly climate.”
April 29, 2019 - Urbandale Parks and Recreation Offers Summer Camp Discount
Urbandale, IA – Register for Kids Kamp on or before Thursday, May 16, to receive a 15% early purchase discount. Participants can register online at www.UrbandaleParksAndRec.org/register or by calling 515.278.3963. Participants can also register at the Urbandale Parks and Recreation Office, 3600 86th Street in Urbandale from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Participants will enjoy a "theme of the week" and a variety of activities are offered including crafts, games, sports, board games, swimming at the Urbandale Indoor Pool, guest speakers, and weekly field trips.
The Parks and Recreation Department maintains more than 48 miles of paved trails, manages 54 parks, and offers more than 150 athletic, aquatic, artistic, instructional, and wellness programs. Indoor programs are provided year round at various locations in Urbandale. For more information, go to the Parks and Recreation homepage at www.UrbandaleParksAndRec.org or call the Parks and Recreation Office at 515.278.3963.
April 3, 2019 - Urbandale Named USA Swimming Foundation Grant Recipient
Urbandale, IA – The USA Swimming Foundation recently announced that it has awarded $4,000 to the City of Urbandale to help fund swim lesson programs, providing 89 children enrolled in Urbandale's Making-A-Connection Program the opportunity to learn how to swim. The USA Swimming Foundation vetted more than 240 applications through a competitive annual review process and the City of Urbandale's swim lesson program was one of 85 programs chosen to receive funding.
"The City of Urbandale is committed to keeping our community members safe—ensuring every child knows how to swim is essential to that goal," said LeAnn Auxier, Aquatics Program Supervisor for Urbandale Parks & Recreation. "80 percent of children from low-income families have little to no swimming ability. These grant funds help to eliminate financial barriers that families may face when it comes to affording swim lessons."
Swimming lessons will be provided to 89 children enrolled in Urbandale's Making-A-Connection Program (MAC Camp). Every summer the Urbandale Parks & Recreation Department organizes MAC Camp and works with the Urbandale Community School District to identify prospective children to participate. MAC Camp provides children with a safe, fun, and supervised environment to learn and develop. In addition to swim lessons MAC camp participants receive two meals each day, practice daily math and reading work, learn new physical activities, gain conflict resolution experience, and enjoy weekly field trips.
"Swim lessons help round out the MAC program, providing positive experiences during children's formative years." said Mollie Wilhite, Parks & Recreation Superintendent. "This time period has such a strong influence on the rest of life and Urbandale's MAC Camp helps provide opportunities for positive cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development."
The City of Urbandale will receive funding through this first round of 2019 grant awards from USA Swimming. Since 2007, the USA Swimming Foundation has awarded more than $6.2 million dollars to help fund learn-to-swim programs across the country. For more information about swim lessons or MAC Camp, visit: www.UrbandaleParksAndRec.org
March 15, 2019 - Urbandale Council Approves Budget, Highlights Major Projects
Urbandale, IA - The Urbandale City Council unanimously approved a $136.4 million budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The proposed budget was presented to the City Council and a public hearing held during a regularly scheduled City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.
The budget presentation noted expected operating revenues of approximately $67.6 million, and operating expenses of $51.0 million, keeping expenses below expected revenue. The proposed budget is a reflection of the Urbandale Mayor and City Council's commitment to providing exceptional quality municipal services.
"Major items impacting the budget this year include construction of the voter-approved Fire Station 43 and additional public safety personnel for the Police and Fire Departments," said A.J. Johnson, City Manager. "These items directly reflect the importance the Mayor and City Council place on public safety and echo their strategic priorities—Urbandale is a first-class suburb that's a great place for families."
The Urbandale municipal tax rate of $10.52 is anticipated to be aligned with, or lower than many cities in the Des Moines Metro. "Residents owning a $200,000 home can expect to pay approximately $1,200 annually for city services," said Johnson. "That's about $3.29 per day for everything from snow removal and public safety to parks and streets."
The 2019-2020 budget incorporates the expenditures recently adopted in the $89.5 million Capital Improvements Plan budget. "The City and its partners are investing at record levels in infrastructure projects like the new Meredith Drive I-35/80 interchange and flyover ramp in the Urban Loop." said A.J. Johnson. "We are focused on providing a high level of value for residents and businesses—improving commute times and delivering excellent services at a competitive rate."
- In November 2017, a bond referendum successfully passed at 82% to construct a third Fire Station in Urbandale. In the same election, voters in Dallas County also approved a one percent Local Option Sales and Service Tax (LOSST), which allows the City to provide 100% property tax relief for the 14 cents voters approved for the construction of the Fire Station. Once completed in fall 2019, this station will provide fire and EMS service for the growing western portions of both Clive and Urbandale. The City of Urbandale will own the station and provide service to the City of Clive on a contract-for-service basis.
- The City received a SAFER grant to cover 9 additional firefighter/EMTs starting in March 2019, which will make the new station fully staffed when the doors open.
- The full-time staffing level for public safety employees will increase by 2 positions from 113 to 115, consisting of Police at 62 (53 sworn Officers and 9 civilians) and Fire/EMS at 53 (52 Fire/EMS personnel and 1 civilian). The remaining full-time staffing level for non-public safety departments will increase by 2 positions from 113 to 115.
- Property valuations increased by 3.6% over prior year, which reflects the City's steady growth.
- Solid waste fees will increase $1 per household per month.
- In keeping with the Council's vision of offering great parks and amenities, a number of enhancements will be made to the park system, including: neighborhood trail reconstructions and improvements, the addition of four pickle ball courts in Walker Johnston Regional Park, and the opening of the Urbandale All-Inclusive Playground.
- The 86th Street Preservation project will overlay and repair 86th Street from Hickman Road to the north ramps at Interstate 35/80. Phase I of this project was completed in 2018 from Aurora Avenue to the city limits on the north side of Interstate 35/80, while Phase II is planned for 2019 from Hickman Road to Aurora Avenue.
The average tax bill is comprised of tax levies from a variety of sources – City, County, Schools, State, Hospital, Sewer Districts, etc. The largest portion of the average Urbandale homeowner's tax payment (46%) goes to support the school district, 25% supports the City of Urbandale's operations, 18% supports the County's operations, and the remaining 11% goes to the other seven taxing bodies. The Budget and Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) are reviewed extensively each year by the Urbandale City Council. Copies of the Budget and CIP are available for viewing online and at Urbandale City Hall.
March 5, 2019 - Clive and Urbandale Receive Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa's 2019 "In the Public Interest Award"
Urbandale, IA - The Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa (TACI) has awarded the 2019 In the Public Interest Award to the cities of Clive and Urbandale. The award is given annually to an individual, local government, or intergovernmental project that best demonstrates the aggressive pursuit of efficiency over the past year. Clive and Urbandale were recognized for their collaboration on Fire Station #43, which when completed will provide emergency services to the growing western neighborhoods in both cities.
"Emergency services are an essential service for municipalities, but providing those services is expensive today and will be more expensive in the future," said Gretchen Tegeler, President of TACI. "Cities must pursue innovative solutions to efficiently and sustainably deliver quality services to taxpayers. The Station #43 project is a great example of taxpayers benefiting when cities focus on their core responsibilities and value for taxes paid. Clive and Urbandale have strong traditions of fiscal stewardship and collaboration, and we applaud them for their work on this impressive project."
As Clive and Urbandale have grown, many of their current or planned developments have extended beyond the recommended distance and travel time from existing fire stations. To correct this coverage gap, Clive and Urbandale could have each built and staffed their own stations, but this would have created millions in unnecessary taxpayer expenses.
Clive Mayor Scott Cirksena and Urbandale Mayor Robert Andeweg jointly thanked the Taxpayers Association for the recognition, and expressed optimism about future partnerships that would create more efficient and effective services for residents and businesses in Clive and Urbandale.
Station #43 will cost $4.7 million to build and equip, and annual operational costs will be over $2.2 million. Had the cities decided not to collaborate, taxpayers would have collectively paid over $50 million in the next ten years to build and operate two separate stations. Instead, Urbandale is paying for the construction, equipment, and annual operating costs of Station #43 while the staffing expenses are shared—Clive paying 40% and Urbandale paying 60%. Together, Urbandale and Clive expect to save $21.5 million in avoided costs over the next ten years.
January 11, 2019 - Urbandale's 2018 Building Report Details One of the Strongest Commercial and Residential Investment Years on Record
Urbandale, IA - The City of Urbandale's Community Development Department issued a total of 942 building permits in 2018, with a total valuation of $140.2 million. This is the highest valuation since 2005, and the fourth highest of all time.
Residential investment included 177 single-family detached housing units, and 15 single-family attached (townhouse) units, along with 24 new commercial buildings resulting in the second highest commercial valuation of all time. The remaining permits include commercial and residential projects such as additions, remodels, fences and decks.
"Urbandale continues to attract residential and particularly commercial investment at a noteworthy pace," said Community Development Director Steve Franklin. "As the community continues to grow to the northwest, the City will be exploring the possibility of annexing additional territory in what is currently unincorporated Dallas County."
Urbandale maintains a vast array of investment-attracting amenities including newly added I-35/80 interstate access, a senior recreation center, an indoor public pool, and an extensive park and trail network. Urbandale's current annual budget represents the City's operating plan for this fiscal year, July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. Valuation generated in calendar year 2018 will be reflected in the City's annual budget beginning July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.