For more than 16 years, Parks and Recreation master planning for the City has identified a location at the southeast corner of Meredith Drive and 152nd in the Walnut Creek Regional Park for a community recreation complex. Urbandale residents will be asked to vote on whether the City should design, construct, and outfit the U-Plex and associated amenities at a special election on Tuesday, March 7, 2023. This page is updated with FAQ’s and information on upcoming public meetings related to the potential complex.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Urbandale Community Recreation Complex (U-Plex)?
The U-Plex is a conceptual indoor and outdoor community gathering place, set in the Walnut Creek Regional Park, that focuses on engaging Urbandale residents, recreational patrons, and families. Indoor facility features include a walking track, three gym courts, an indoor playground, community rental space, and multiple rooms for recreational programming. Outdoor features include pickleball courts, a splash pad, a regional playground, outdoor programming space and shaded gathering spaces.
Where and when can I learn more about this project?
This webpage will continue to be updated with the most current information. We invite you to stop by and ask questions at one of four upcoming Community Information Meetings:
Urbandale Library: Sunday, January 29th from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
- Walnut Hills Elementary School: Thursday, February 9th from 6-7 p.m.
- Urbandale Senior Recreation Center: Monday, February 13th from 2-3 p.m.
- Webster Elementary School: Thursday, February 16th from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Who can use the U-Plex?
You! It’s meant to serve both Urbandale residents and non-residents, complementary to all the programs that Urbandale currently offers. Drop-in fees, rental rates, and operations plans would be finalized and approved by the City Council. As with other City buildings, the Council would likely consider a resident rate and a non-resident rate. Resident rates are lower than non-residents rates.
Why did the City pick the Walnut Creek Regional Park for the future location?
The City looked at many options and areas around the community. Ultimately, the City already owns the land at Walnut Creek Regional Park, and this area was identified in the 2006 Regional Park Master Plan as a location for future recreation amenities. Urbandale continues to grow westward, and this location helps the City complement services across the community.
The proposed location seems very far west, is that still in Urbandale?
Yes, the U-Plex will be located in Urbandale. The casual observer may be surprised to learn just how far west the City of Urbandale continues to grow. The western edge of Urbandale is currently at 184th Street, with more room to continue expanding westward into unincorporated Dallas County. The 2020 census shows Urbandale’s population is approximately 45,580 and Urbandale can accommodate growth to 63,000 residents within its current boundaries. A majority of that growth will occur west of the interstate. Currently, about 63% of Urbandale residents live east of Interstate 35/80. Here's a map of Urbandale.
Why isn’t a pool part of this project?
Debt limitations mean the City can’t build a recreation complex AND a pool. However, a splash pad is part of the proposed Community Recreation Complex. The City Council determined the U-Plex would serve the most community members and have the widest variety of recreational opportunities. To help provide opportunities for all residents, the City subsidizes various aquatics programs in the area:
- Clive Aquatic Center – pool passes
- YMCA – swim lessons and water fitness
- Goldfish Swim School – swim lessons
When will residents vote on this?
On Tuesday, March 7, 2023, residents will vote on whether the City should design, construct, and outfit the U-Plex and associated amenities.
The language on the ballot will read:
“Shall the City of Urbandale, Iowa, issue its General Obligation Bonds or Capital Loan Notes in an amount not exceeding the amount of $43,000,000 for the purpose of designing, constructing, equipping, and furnishing a new community recreation complex, with related recreational site improvement.”
More information about your voting location, voting early, and voting by mail is available here.
What will the Community Recreation Complex cost a homeowner in Urbandale?
If approved, it’s estimated that an Urbandale homeowner (with an assessed home value of $200,000) would pay about $119 per year, or about $0.33 per day.
Will the new facility require a membership fee?
No. The facility will be open to the public, with a drop-in fee schedule for some activities, as well as opportunities to rent meeting/event spaces. Drop-in fees, rental rates, and operations plans would be finalized and approved by the City Council. As with other City buildings, the Council would likely consider a resident rate and a non-resident rate. Resident rates are lower than non-residents rates.
What about other health clubs, fitness facilities, and gyms in the area?
This facility will not be membership-based, and will not be a health/fitness club. The Community Recreation Complex will be designed to complement other public and private facilities in the area. There are no plans to add a pool or workout equipment.
What are “master plans” and where can I view a copy?
A Master Plan is a document and policy guide designed to help communities create a vision of what they want to look like in the future. Urbandale Parks & Recreation uses your input to envision the future of our parks system and recreation facilities. Significant community input was used to develop the 2018 Parks, Recreation and Community Open Space Master Plan, which provides a clear direction to guide City staff, advisory committees, and elected officials in their efforts to enhance the community's parks system, open space, trails, recreational facilities, programs and services. The Parks, Recreation and Community Open Space Master Plan can be downloaded here.
If this new facility is built in the Walnut Creek Regional Park, what will happen to the existing Urbandale Senior Recreation Center?
There are no plans to close the current Senior Recreation Center (USRC). The U-Plex is meant to complement, not compete with existing services and surrounding businesses and communities.
What other recreation amenities and projects is the City planning for the community?
The Complex is one of many projects to expand and increase the community amenities offered to Urbandale residents, businesses, and visitors. The proposed City of Urbandale’s Capital Improvements Program (CIP) includes an additional $12.7 million in parks and recreation improvements across the City from 2023 through 2028. Some key projects are a splash pad and park improvements at Lions Park; the creation of a Recreation Mini-Plex which would include indoor court space, mini-golf, and a splashpad; a water trails project; as well as updating the skate park and expanding the current disc golf course. A Dog Park is also planned to be completed in 2023 (located in Northview Wetlands Park, north of the interstate).
Does the U-Plex have a logo and brand?
Yes. When it came time to develop a brand and logo for the Urbandale Community Recreation Complex, or U-Plex, we knew we needed to create something that would accurately reflect the spirit and purpose of the facility—a visual representation of community connection, inclusivity, and recreation. To achieve this, we first conducted extensive research on current branding trends, as well as the community's needs and desires for the U-Plex. We also used feedback gathered from the community input session and surveys on what residents would like to see in a facility. Once we had a good understanding of what the community was looking for, our team set to work brainstorming and sketching ideas. After several rounds of internal review and critique, we settled on a design that captures the essence of the U-Plex. The logo features multiple points that serve as a visual depiction of connection of different items together as one, reminiscent of the activities that will be taking place at the U-Plex. The logo was reviewed by the City Council and will be used in all communications and education materials for the U-Plex. Want to share information about the U-Plex? You can download the logo and branding guide here.
Videos about the project:
In January of 2022, Selzer & Company (a firm hired by the City of Urbandale) conducted a scientifically valid poll of Urbandale to assess voter reaction to a proposed community recreation complex. The “Community Recreation Complex” could be:
- An indoor pool open year-round with lap lanes, a leisure pool and multiple water slides
- Gymnasiums, fitness areas, a walking track, indoor playground and courts for sports
- An outdoor pool open three months a year with lap lanes, a leisure pool, multiple water slides, and a lazy river tubing course
- Multi-purpose meeting and event rooms for youth and senior classes, recreation programs, meetings and rentals
The goals of this poll were:
- To learn about voter knowledge of, and interest in, a community recreation complex;
- To explore comparative interest in an aquatic center as part of the plan;
- To determine the likelihood of voting in the election; and
- To quantify views of the implications for property taxes.
Of particular interest was whether an aquatic center is a necessary element of any proposal. To determine this, Selzer & Company looked at the interest versus the unmet need of people who use indoor or outdoor aquatic centers. Using the state’s voter list, 502 active registered voters were interviewed, with calls lasting approximately 12 minutes. You can view the results of the poll here.
In March of 2022, the City Council approved moving forward preliminary plans for a Community Recreation Complex in Urbandale. This complex could include amenities such as gymnasiums, indoor walking track, indoor playground, community rooms and rental space, general recreation space for programs and classes, senior recreation space, pickleball courts, etc. However, the facility would not include a pool, but could include an outdoor splash pad. A bond referendum would need to be held sometime in the future to allow voters to decide if the City should authorize the sale of bonds to raise funds for the project.
In April of 2022, Selzer & Company (a firm hired by the City of Urbandale) conducted a poll to assess voter reaction to a proposed Community Recreation Complex. The goals of this poll were to learn about voter knowledge of and interest in a community recreation complex; determine the likelihood of voting in the election; quantify views of the implications for property taxes; and to assess the attitudes toward the features and programming the new complex could offer. Using the state’s voter list, 501 active registered voters were interviewed, with calls lasting approximately 13 minutes. You can review the results of the survey/poll here.
In May of 2022, the City Council directed staff to proceed with the process of hiring a firm prepare preliminary design plans for the complex, cost estimates for construction and operations, and engage the community in public meetings and other forums to share information on the project.
In July of 2022, the City Council approved hiring RDG Planning and Design for the project. RDG will be holding public input sessions this fall to gain community input on specific amenities that are desired in the complex. More information will be shared on this webpage as it becomes available.
Three dates were set for the Open House / Input Sessions for the Community Recreation Complex. Residents shared their thoughts and comments on the project:
- Wednesday, October 19, 6-7:30pm at the Urbandale Library (3520 86th Street, Urbandale)
- Thursday, October 20, 11:30am-1pm at Urbandale City Hall (3600 86th Street, Urbandale)
- Monday, October 24, 6-7:30pm at Walnut Hills Elementary School (4240 NW 156th St, Urbandale)
The Mayor, City Council, and Parks & Recreation Commission members met for a worksession on Tuesday, November 8, to review information for the proposed Community Recreation Complex, including estimated construction and operational costs, preliminary designs, and potential property tax implications for residents. The Mayor and Council directed staff to continue finalizing plans for the Community Recreation Complex and bring forward a plan for review at an upcoming meeting on Tuesday, December 13.
The Mayor and City Council met on Tuesday, December 13, for a City Council meeting and approved the conceptual design plans and cost projections for the Urbandale Community Recreation Complex as well as the composition of a brand strategy for naming the proposed facility the “U-Plex”. The City Council still needs to approve the ballot language before Urbandale residents are asked to vote on whether the City should design, construct, and outfit a $43 million Community Recreation Complex and associated amenities.
The City Council established a Tuesday, March 7, 2023 special election for voters to consider this question: “Shall the City of Urbandale, Iowa, issue its General Obligation Bonds or Capital Loan Notes in an amount not exceeding the amount of $43,000,000 for the purpose of designing, constructing, equipping, and furnishing a new community recreation complex, with related recreational site improvements?”