Press Release - 2022
December 30, 2022 - Urbandale Promoting DeJong to Director of Economic Development; Brown to Transition Full-Time to City Manager’s Office
The City of Urbandale is promoting Aaron DeJong to Director of Economic Development. DeJong has served as the Assistant Director of Economic Development for the past three years and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role. He will assume his new role on Sunday, January 1, 2023.
DeJong has been instrumental in implementing several successful economic development initiatives in Urbandale. He has helped solidify the Urban Loop development area’s momentum through innovative marketing initiatives, facilitated numerous development agreements for new and expanding business investments, and recently DeJong helped create the new Downtown Urbandale Assistance Policy to encourage business investments along Douglas Avenue.
As DeJong steps into his new role, Curtis Brown will transition from the dual role of Director of Economic Development and Assistant City Manager—a position he has held since 2018—to full-time work within the City Manager’s Office. As Urbandale prepares for future growth, this move increases the Office’s capacity to take on initiatives aimed at driving progress and improving quality of life in the community. Brown will assume the title of Assistant City Manager beginning January 1, 2023.
"We are thrilled to have Aaron step into this leadership role and continue the important work of economic development in our city," said A.J. Johnson, Urbandale City Manager. "At the same time, the work of the City Manager’s Office continues to grow and Curtis’ full-time involvement with this office will be very valuable."
Before moving to Urbandale in 2019, DeJong was the Director of Economic Development for the City of Louisville, Colorado and has also worked in the Economic Development Department of Dubuque, Iowa. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa and a master’s degree from the University of Iowa. He is a member of Professional Developers of Iowa, Iowa Commercial Real Estate Association, and serves on the State of Iowa Health Facilities Council. DeJong’s salary will be $123,892.
"I am honored to be given the opportunity to increase my role in shaping economic development for the City of Urbandale," said DeJong. "I look forward to continuing to work with our business community and helping to encourage economic growth in our city."
December 12, 2022 - Urbandale Cemetery Selected as Official Location for National Wreath Event
A wreath-laying event will take place at McDivitt Grove Cemetery on Saturday, December 17, 2022 at 10 AM. All community members are invited to attend and help place more than 100 wreaths on the headstones of veterans laid to rest at the cemetery. This event is free and open to everyone.
The annual event—which takes place nationally—brings the community together to help ensure that the people who served our country will never be forgotten. The cemetery joins more than 3,100 participating locations across the country.
The cemetery is located at 7001 Meredith Drive, in Urbandale. Overflow parking is available at New Hope Church, 4425 70th Street, located just south of the cemetery. Limited parking is available at the cemetery for persons with disabilities.
November 14, 2022 - Urbandale Transforming Park into Winter Wonderland for Holiday Season
The City of Urbandale is opening a new winter attraction named Miracle on 86th Street on Tuesday, November 15, at 5:30 PM at Charles Gabus Memorial Tree Park and Garden in Urbandale, Iowa. The park has been decorated with 50,000 lights and Urbandale Mayor Bob Andeweg will flip-the-switch and light up the park for the holiday season.
The park features a large custom-built train, larger-than-life ornamental displays, an ice-skating rink, and holiday-themed events all season long. The opening event is free, and the public is invited to attend. Hot cocoa and cookies will be available, and a professional photographer will be onsite for those that would like their photo captured in the beautifully decorated park.
The park is located at 3400 86th Street, near Urbandale Public Library and Urbandale City Hall. Miracle on 86th Street will be open from November 15, 2022 through January 9, 2023 during normal park hours. The ice-skating rink will be open as weather permits, please refer to signage near the rink (and notices on the City website) for open/closed status.
October 19, 2022 - Big Truck Expo and Open House Planned for Urbandale’s New $26 Million Parks and Public Works Maintenance Facility
The City of Urbandale is hosting an open house and big truck expo at the newly-constructed Parks & Public Works Maintenance Facility this Saturday, October 22, from 10:00 AM - 12:00PM.
The new facility, located at 9401 Hickman Road in Urbandale, is more than 150,000 square feet with a rooftop size of nearly three acres. The building was designed with many energy-efficient features, including a 4,000 gallon rain barrel that captures rain from the roof. The captured water is then reused in Urbandale’s parks to water flowers, shrubs, and trees.
The event is free and the public is invited to attended. A short presentation will begin at 10:30 AM and will be followed by guided tours of the facility, a big truck exhibit, light refreshments, and family/kids activities.
October 4, 2022 - Central Iowa Funders Invest in Launching the Central Iowa Basic Income Pilot Project
Eleven organizations have committed funding to launch the Central Iowa Basic Income Pilot Project—a cross-sector collaboration that will study the impacts of a monthly stipend on the lives of low-income individuals and the community.
The following organizations are investing $2.5 million in the project, with nearly 70% from private funds: Mid-Iowa Health Foundation, Principal Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, City of Des Moines, City of Urbandale, City of Windsor Heights, Polk County, Bank of America, The Director’s Council, Telligen Community Initiative, and United Way of Central Iowa.
“The Central Iowa Basic Income Pilot is a strong example of the public and private sectors collaborating to fund and study innovative solutions to complex community issues like the intersections of poverty and public health,” said Dr. Nalo Johnson, President & CEO of Mid-Iowa Health Foundation. “The Project is a unique opportunity to investigate the impact that greater flexibility to meet basic needs has on people’s health and well-being. Our goal is to collect data that will inform the design and implementation of policy and spending decisions that more effectively address poverty.”
Central Iowa joins other communities across the nation that have recently launched basic income projects and is the first to include urban, suburban, and rural geographies in a single pilot model. Research has shown that basic income helps people by reducing month-to-month income fluctuations, increasing ability to find full-time employment, improving physical and mental health, and improving response to unexpected emergencies. Studies also show a boost in young children’s healthy development.
The funders supporting the Central Iowa Basic Income Pilot have made the following joint statement:
“As a collective of funders, we are committed to maintaining a healthy, vibrant Greater Des Moines region. We are proud to join forces to invest in research that will provide data to support policy decisions and will insert central Iowa in a national conversation regarding ways to reduce poverty and improve health and life outcomes.”
Project implementation will begin this fall. The Harkin Institute at Drake University will provide project coordination. Research will be conducted by The Center for Guaranteed Income Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice with local support from Des Moines University’s Department of Public Health. Community-based organizations will offer guidance and support with participant engagement.
Participant recruitment is expected to begin in late November 2022, with first payments starting in February 2023. Over two years, 110 low-income individuals living in Polk, Warren and Dallas Counties will each receive a $500 monthly stipend. Researchers will track how participants use the stipend each month and will compare various health and well-being outcomes of stipend recipients to those of 140 individuals who do not receive a stipend. Research findings will be shared with the community to explore the effects of low-income community members’ access to a sustained amount of unrestricted economic assistance each month.
This project is supported in part by federal funds under the Corona Virus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund awarded to the City of Des Moines, Iowa, City of Urbandale, Iowa, and Polk County, Iowa, by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
July 12, 2022 - Urbandale Recognized for Excellence in Financial Reporting
The Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to the City of Urbandale for its Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. This is the 39th consecutive year that the City of Urbandale has received this award. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.
“For nearly forty years we have received a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association,” said Nicci Lamb, Director of Finance. “This award recognizes the City’s financial procedures as being among the best in the nation, and our residents should be very proud of Urbandale’s fiscal stewardship.”
The City’s ACFR is evaluated by an independent and impartial panel of CPAs who judge the report’s compliance in nineteen content areas, each with specific requirements. If the report is proficient in all areas, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) awards the Certificate of Achievement.
“There are only 21 other cities in Iowa that earned this award, which speaks to Urbandale’s commitment to providing our citizens with complete and accurate information about the City’s financial position,” said Lamb. “Transparency and raising awareness about government operations is of the upmost importance to the City Council.”
A copy of the ACFR can be downloaded from the City of Urbandale’s website.
July 11, 2022 - New Park and Natural Playscape Grand Opening in Urbandale
The City of Urbandale is hosting a grand opening and ribbon cutting for Barrett Boesen Park. The new park features a natural playscape that consists of elements and textures from the earth, such as logs, stumps, boulders, sand, plants, and water.
The public is invited to the grand opening on Thursday, July 14, at 5:30 PM. Remarks from Urbandale Mayor Bob Andeweg will begin at 6 PM and light refreshments will be provided. The new park is located at 5301 156th Street, Urbandale, Iowa.
Unlike more traditional playgrounds, natural playscapes provide enhanced opportunities for exploration, discovery, learning, and play. Natural playscapes enable children to move freely and creatively around the environment; helping connect kids with nature, develop gross motor functions, and improve social skills.
June 13, 2022 - Cooling Center to Open in Urbandale
The City of Urbandale will be opening a cooling center for residents due to hot temperatures forecasted for the next several days. The center location and open hours are as follows:
Urbandale Public Library, 3520 86th Street
- Monday, June 13: 9AM–8:30PM
- Tuesday, June 14: 9AM–8:30PM
- Wednesday, June 15: 9AM–8:30PM
- Thursday, June 16: 9AM–8:30PM
- Friday, June 17: 9AM–6PM
Chairs are available for people to sit on while cooling off. Wi-Fi is available. Outlets are available for charging devices, but people must bring their own cords.
Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency! Call 9-1-1.
June 10, 2022 - Road Closure Notice: Meredith Drive from 167th Street to 170th Street
The City of Urbandale will begin reconstructing Meredith Drive from 167th Street to west of 170th Street and 170th Street from Meredith Drive to Waterford Road as a four-lane roadway with left turn lanes.
On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, Meredith Drive will be completely closed to traffic from 167th Street to 170th Street. The intersections of 170th Street and 167th Street will remain open. The intersection of 169th Street will be closed. Detours will be posted. Local traffic will be maintained.
As work progresses, this complete closure will move, and updates will be posted on our website.
This portion of the Meredith Drive reconstruction will be completed by the fall of 2022. The entire project including 170th Street Reconstruction is expected to be completed by the fall of 2023.
May 28, 2022 - Road Closure Notice: 128th Street from Douglas Parkway to Aurora Avenue
The City of Urbandale will be replacing pavement on 128th Street from Douglas Parkway to Aurora Avenue this summer.
On Thursday, June 2, 128th Street will be closed to traffic from Douglas Parkway to Aurora Avenue. The intersections of Douglas Parkway and Aurora Avenue will remain open. The intersections with Timberline Cottages, Airline Avenue, and Prairie Drive will be closed and re-constructed. Detours will be posted and the route is available on our website. Local traffic will be maintained. Project updates will be posted on our website as work progresses.
128th Street is expected to be re-opened to traffic by mid-August. The project is expected to be completed by early October 2022.
May 20, 2022 - Mosquito Control Program to Begin
Mosquito spraying in Urbandale neighborhoods is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 23, weather permitting, and continue until Fall 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. Residences 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.
New residents, residents with apiaries, or pollinator gardens that would like to opt-out of mosquito spraying near their home should e-mail their name and address to Scott Hock, Assistant Director of Parks, Recreation, and Facilities at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have called in before to ask to be placed on the no treatment list, we will still not treat in your immediate area. Residents with any questions concerning this program should contact the Urbandale Parks & Recreation Department at 515-331-6799.
April 20, 2022 - Urbandale’s Efforts to Understand and Address Local Business Needs Recognized with Award
The City of Urbandale has been honored with a BEST of Iowa Excellence Award for its efforts gathering information and data about current business trends in Iowa.
Business Expansion and Strategic Trends (BEST) of Iowa is a unique collaboration of local economic development groups working with Iowa’s utilities and the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The group’s mission is to meet with Iowa companies to identify local economic trends, business needs and opportunities.
The BEST of Iowa Award honors communities that went above and beyond throughout the data gathering process. In addition to the City of Urbandale, three other communities were honored with the award: Iowa City Area Development, City of Boone and Mahaska Chamber & Development, and Mahaska County.
“Building relationships and supporting our existing businesses is the first priority for our city’s economic development efforts,” Urbandale Mayor Bob Andeweg said. “This recognition is both an affirmation and motivation to continue to deliver on that commitment to our existing businesses.”
2021 BEST of Iowa identified trends that include workforce challenges and supply issues from interviews with more than 1,065 companies in 66 counties. The City of Urbandale economic development staff contributed to that effort by meeting with dozens of businesses in its targeted industries of information technology, insurance and financial services, logistics and advanced manufacturing. The City takes action on the information it receives to resolve minor issues and to address larger concerns like workforce by collaborating with partners.
“Getting firsthand feedback from businesses across our state is critical to making sure we’re setting the stage for economic success,” said Drew Conrad, Director at the Institute for Decision Making, The University of Northern Iowa. “We hope that this information will help leaders pinpoint how to best support the hardworking people of Iowa.”
For more details about the study, visit www.iowaeda.com.
April 18, 2022 – Road Closure Notice – Aurora Avenue from NW Urbandale Drive to the UGRA Softball and Soccer Club Complex
The City of Urbandale will begin reconstructing Aurora Avenue/104th Street/100th Street from NW Urbandale Drive to Brookview Drive as a three-lane roadway with a center left turn lane.
Starting on Monday, April 25, Aurora Avenue will be completely closed to traffic from NW Urbandale Drive to the UGRA Softball and Soccer Club Complex. The entrance to the UGRA complex and Townhomes will remain open; access to this entrance will only be from Meredith Drive.
As work progresses, this complete closure will move, and updates will be posted on our website. Detours will be posted. Local traffic will be maintained.
This project is expected to be completed by the end of November. You can follow all the project updates at www.Urbandale.org/projects.
April 1, 2022 - Urbandale’s Strong Credit Rating Announced; City Lowers the Tax Levy
Urbandale, IA – Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday, March 29, affirmed the City of Urbandale’s Aa1 bond rating. Economic growth continues to drive revenue, leading to stable financial operations with healthy reserves. Urbandale is also lowering the tax levy for the upcoming fiscal year.
“This excellent rating is one factor that helps the City of Urbandale decrease the tax levy for our residents this coming year," said Nicci Lamb, Director of Finance. "A strong bond rating allows us to borrow money at lower interest rates—and the less interest Urbandale pays—the more money we can save Urbandale taxpayers.”
Urbandale’s tax levy will be lowered 10 cents from last year’s amount to a new total of $10.01. This lowered levy will go into effect for the 2022-2023 fiscal year which begins on July 1, 2022.
“The City of Urbandale appreciates the affirmation by Moody's of Urbandale's fiscal stability in issuing these strong ratings,” said Mayor Bob Andeweg. “It underscores the long-term commitment of the City Council and staff for strong fiscal discipline and operational excellence, and it allows us to continue providing high quality services at a reasonable rate.”
Aa1 is immediately below rating of AAA as one of the highest possible bond ratings that Moody’s can give an organization. This rating allows the City of Urbandale to manage timely debt strategies and will lead to more investment into the improvement of the community. Moody’s Investors Service is a global provider of credit ratings, research, and risk analysis.
March 29, 2022 - Urbandale Moving Plans Forward for a New Community Recreation Complex
At a Council meeting last week, the Urbandale City Council directed staff to prepare preliminary plans for a Community Recreation Complex at Walnut Creek Regional Park near 152nd Street and Meredith Drive.
“Constructing a new recreation amenity at 152nd and Meredith is something that has been identified in our master plans for more than 16 years,” said Director of Parks & Recreation Jan Herke. “The Recreation Complex will be a unique community hub providing wellness, recreation, educational, and leisure opportunities for current and future generations.”
Earlier this year, a survey of Urbandale residents showed that 77% were in favor of constructing a new complex. Urbandale will be conducting a second survey to narrow down community preferences for the types of amenities this complex will offer. This survey will be completed in April, and further community forums and public input will follow. Urbandale is planning to hold a bond referendum for the complex in March of 2023. More information on the project can be found here.
Urbandale Parks & Recreation manages 57 parks, more than 50 miles of paved trails, and offers more than 300 athletic, instructional, recreational, and wellness programs during the year. Indoor and outdoor programs are provided throughout the year and can be found online at www.Urbandale.org/Spring or call the Parks & Recreation Office at 515-278-3963.
March 9, 2022 - Urbandale Opening Restrooms
Urbandale's Parks & Recreation Department announced Friday, April 1, 2022 as the start date for the parks’ portable restroom service. A total of eight portable restrooms will be opened across seven parks in Urbandale. These will include two handicap accessible toilets and one ADA toilet in Walker Johnston, Dunlap, and Waterford parks.
“Urbandale is proud to offer various amenities throughout our more than 50 parks,” said Director of Parks & Recreation Jan Herke. “Opening these portable restrooms is just one way we can create a more enjoyable and convenient experience for people who want to get out and enjoy the Spring weather.”
Urbandale also plans to open flushable restrooms and water fountains throughout all parks starting the week of March 28. This is to ensure that the weather will not fall below freezing to prevent pipes from bursting in Urbandale parks.
Urbandale Parks & Recreation manages 57 parks, more than 50 miles of paved trails, and offers more than 300 athletic, instructional, recreational, and wellness programs during the year. Indoor and outdoor programs are provided throughout the Spring and Summer and can be found online at www.Urbandale.org/Spring or call the Parks & Recreation Office at 515-278-3963.
January 31, 2022- $217 Million to be Invested in Urbandale’s Infrastructure, Trails, and Art
The Urbandale City Council approves five-year plan for improvements across the city.
Formally known as the Capital Improvements Plan (CIP), the approved plan allocated $217 million worth of funding for projects to positively impact Urbandale residents, visitors and businesses.
The CIP prioritizes and plans for construction and purchases to meet the City’s future needs for public art, buildings, equipment, technology, parks, bridges, sidewalks, storm sewers, streets, street lighting, traffic signals, and water systems. Nearly $29 million will be spent in 2022.
“We are very pleased to approve this plan,” said Urbandale Mayor Robert Andeweg. “It will help fuel Urbandale’s growth and allow us to become an even more attractive option for businesses and residents looking for a place to call home.”
The CIP includes important community-shaping projects for 2022, including:
- Douglas Avenue Urbanization - this project will modernize and enhance the area by adding public art, street curbs, storm water management, trails, sidewalks, landscaping and pedestrian/cyclist access.
- Community entrance signage - this on-going project will place monument signs at key city entrance points to help identify Urbandale for visitors and area residents, convey a welcoming entrance to Urbandale, promote community identity, and support economic development initiatives.
- Adding public art to enhance the appearance of Urbandale.
- Paving new trails and constructing new parks in various locations around Urbandale.
Many more projects are planned for the City of Urbandale in the coming years. To view all the upcoming projects, as well as specific details of the Capital Improvement Plan, please visit online at https://www.urbandale.org/230/Finance-Records.
January 5, 2022 - Building Boom: Urbandale’s 2021 Permit Valuation Highest on Record
The City of Urbandale's Community Development Department issued a total of 1,388 residential and commercial building permits in 2021, with a total valuation of more than $220.6 million. This is the highest valuation on record, surpassing the previous record from 2003 of $188 million.
Building permits issued by the City include many different types of commercial and residential projects such as additions, remodels, fences, and decks. Urbandale saw the construction of 417 single-family homes and 25 new commercial buildings in 2021 which helped set the new record for permit valuation.
“These strong numbers are an endorsement of the work of city leaders, businesses, and residents,” said Mayor Bob Andeweg. “It’s no secret, people are putting roots down in Urbandale thanks to our outstanding amenities, great schools, and wonderful residents and businesses.”
Urbandale maintains a vast array of investment-attracting amenities including the Urban Loop commercial development area which boasts seven I-35/80 interstate access points, one of the lowest city tax rates in the metro, an extensive park and trail network, and the ability to grow northwest and annex land in unincorporated Dallas County.
The City recently began the process to update its Comprehensive Plan, creating a vision with goals and objectives to guide future growth and development. Urbandale has grown significantly since 2003, when the current plan was adopted, and the development landscape has evolved significantly.
For more information and to view the online permit portal, visit www.urbandale.org/permitportal.
January 3, 2022 - Urbandale Public Library Hosting Traveling Exhibit
The Urbandale Public Library will host the “Toward a Universal Suffrage: African American Women in Iowa and the Vote for All” traveling exhibit from January 27 - February 4, 2022. In partnership with the City of Urbandale Civil Rights Commission, the Urbandale Library is hosting the following events to highlight the history and message behind the exhibit, as well as stimulate discussion about the current state of affairs.
- January 27, 6 p.m. Keynote speaker Karen Kedrowski: Join us for opening remarks from Karen Kedrowski, Director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center (registration encouraged).
- About the exhibit: The product of a collaboration between the Iowa Department of Human Rights’ Office on the Status of Women, the Central Iowa Community Museum and the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University, “Toward a Universal Suffrage: African American Women in Iowa and the Vote for All” highlights the contributions of African Americans in Iowa to the suffrage movement.
- Saturday, January 29, 10 a.m. Judge Romonda Belcher: Judge Romonda D. Belcher will be presenting Sojourner Truth’s "Ain’t I a Woman" speech which was originally given at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio in 1851. Judge Belcher will share other details about this historical figure and her involvement with the suffrage movement.
- Target Audience: Middle school age and up
- Registration encouraged
- Sunday, January 30, 2 p.m. Continuing the Conversation: Discussion Panel: Join us for a panel discussion with a group of women who will share their experiences as African American community and business members in Iowa. Registration encouraged, guest speakers include:
- Linda Franker, owner of Optimal Health & Wellbeing
- Dwana Bradley, with Iowa Urban Media & Des Moines School Board
- State Representative Ruth Ann Gaines
- Renee Hardman, CEO of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Iowa & West Des Moines City Council member
- Teree Caldwell Johnson, Des Moines School Board & Oak Hills Neighborhood Association member
- Betty Andrew, President of the Iowa/Nebraska NAACP