Press Release - 2023

October 20, 2023 - Urbandale Launches City Flag Redesign Project

The City of Urbandale is asking community members to develop a new and lasting symbol of the city with the launch of the Urbandale Flag Project. This initiative aims to design and select a new flag that captures the essence of the Urbandale community.

The existing flag, which has proudly flown over Urbandale for more than twenty years, was the result of a community-wide effort in 2000. Now, Urbandale seeks to honor this legacy while also embracing the opportunity for a fresh, unifying symbol that reflects the city's history, growth, and continued progress.

"Flags hold great significance in representing communities,” said Mayor Bob Andeweg. “Urbandale's new flag will be a powerful symbol of our unity, pride, and commitment to our community's future."

The project invites anyone to participate in the design process. Community input on flag design elements will open on Monday, October 23, 2023, and close on Wednesday, January 31, 2024. This extended timeline ensures that every voice is heard and valued in shaping the city's new identity.

Community involvement is a critical component of this project and a Flag Design Committee—comprised of key community members and experts—will help guide the process. This diverse group includes representatives from the Urbandale Historical Society, the Public Art Committee, graphic artists, designers, elected officials, and city staff. 

“Urbandale has changed so much in the past two decades that a refresh of our flag is in order,” said Pat Finnerty, Flag Design Committee Member. “This is an exciting opportunity to create a symbol that encompasses the spirit and vitality of our city. Designing a new flag for Urbandale was a fun and unifying experience twenty plus years ago, and I believe it will be again.”

The new flag will be unveiled in June 2024 at the Mayor’s Annual State of the City Address. For more information on the Flag Project and how to participate, please visit www.urbandale.org/flag.

October 11, 2023 - Urbandale Winterizing Parks 

Due to lowering temperatures, Urbandale Parks & Recreation staff will begin shutting down drinking fountains and restrooms throughout the parks system on Monday, October 23. As temperatures continue to drop, all park facilities must be winterized to withstand harsh weather conditions. Portable restrooms will remain through October and then closed and removed in early November.

“Our goal is to keep the restrooms and fountains on as long as possible as we know that residents enjoy our parks in every season,” said Assistant Director of Parks, Recreation, and Facilities Scott Hock. “We normally start this process in mid-October when shelter rentals cease for the season and switch to first-come first-served for usage. But weather forecast predications look favorable for us to wait one more week this year.”

Maintaining water to unheated facilities during cold winter months can cause water pipes to burst resulting in expensive repairs. When temperatures allow in the spring, staff will restore water to the public restrooms and drinking fountains. Although Urbandale parks remain open year-round, trail maintenance may be limited during certain times of the year. Visitors should use caution during winter due to the potential for snow, ice, and debris hazards. 

Urbandale’s Parks & Recreation Department manages 57 parks, 50 miles of paved trails, and offers more than 300 athletic, instructional, recreational, and wellness programs during the year. Indoor programs are provided throughout the winter and can be found online at www.Urbandale.org/Fall or call the Parks & Recreation Department at 515-278-3963.

October 4, 2023 - Urbandale Set to Unveil State-of-the-Art Trench Training Site

The City of Urbandale is hosting a ribbon cutting for its new Trench Training Site, scheduled for Friday, October 6. This cutting-edge site advances training for emergency responders and construction professionals, offering a safe and realistic environment for honing critical skills.

The inauguration of the Trench Training Site marks another achievement for the Urbandale Fire Department, an agency that has experienced firsthand the gravity of trench-related emergencies. In a harrowing incident in 2001, an employee of a plumbing company was trapped at the bottom of a nine-foot trench when it suddenly gave way – burying the employee under tons of earth for five hours. The relentless efforts of the Urbandale Fire Department and partner agencies led to the employee’s rescue, underscoring the importance of this new site and its ability to enhance emergency preparedness for first responders.

"We are excited to provide our emergency responders and construction professionals with a world-class training area," said Urbandale Mayor Bob Andeweg. "This site will play a crucial role in enhancing the safety and preparedness of our entire region, and we are grateful for the generosity of the Iowa Chapter of the National Utility Contractors Association and its members in making this project a reality."

The Trench Training Site, made possible in part through a generous donation from the Iowa Chapter of the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), represents a significant leap forward in ensuring the safety and preparedness of our local emergency responders. This state-of-the-art facility boasts advanced features and scenarios that will allow responders to simulate real-life trench emergencies, enabling them to train safely and efficiently.

“Trench Safety is one of the single largest areas of focus for our members,” said Kim Frey, Executive Director of the Iowa Chapter of the National Utility Contractors Association. “Our members and their hard-working employees recognize the inherent risks associated with underground utility work. Without proper planning, a situation can become dangerous in an instant. NUCA of Iowa was proud to partner with the City of Urbandale to make this project a reality. We appreciate Urbandale acknowledging the important role our contractors play in constructing the infrastructure that we all rely on in our daily lives. NUCA of Iowa is especially grateful to our generous members who stepped up with not only monetary donations, but also with materials and services. We are beyond excited to have a facility like this in our region.”

October 3, 2023 - Urbandale Promoting Michael Cardwell to Fire Chief/Emergency Preparedness Director

The City of Urbandale is pleased to announce the promotion of Michael Cardwell to the position of Fire Chief/Emergency Preparedness Director. Cardwell has served as Urbandale’s Assistant Fire Chief since 2008 and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role. He assumed his new role on Tuesday, October 3, 2023.

Cardwell has been instrumental in implementing several successful emergency preparedness initiatives in Urbandale and the Des Moines Metropolitan Area. He helped lead the planning and construction of Urbandale’s FAST (Fire and Safety Training) facility, a cutting-edge site that advances training for emergency responders, and spearheaded regional partnerships including the Central Iowa Fire/EMS Testing Consortium and the Polk County Regional Mass Casualty Incident Plan.

“My life’s work is about ensuring our Fire Department is prepared to meet the needs of the community we serve. It is my goal to continue to guide and grow the quality personnel we have,” said Chief Cardwell. “It is a privilege to become Chief and lead the department which I have dedicated myself to for the last fifteen years.”

Chief Cardwell holds a master’s degree in public administration from Upper Iowa University and has earned the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer designation. Throughout his career he’s championed the importance of training and education and lectured at numerous state and national conferences.

“With over 25 years of command-level experience in the firefighting profession, Chief Cardwell's extensive background and expertise have earned him recognition as a leader in the field,” said A.J. Johnson, City Manager. “His commitment to excellence and innovative approach to fire safety, training, and prevention make him a standout choice to lead the Urbandale Fire Department into the future.”

The City of Urbandale is confident that Chief Cardwell's leadership will further strengthen the Fire Department's capabilities and its ability to serve and protect the residents and businesses of Urbandale.

September 1, 2023 - Urbandale Water Main Upgrades to Enhance Infrastructure and Community Safety

The Urbandale Water Utility is set to undertake a vital project to strengthen the city's water infrastructure, prioritizing community safety and resilience. The project, focused on water main improvements near Urbandale High School along 70th Street from Madison Avenue to Aurora Avenue, marks a significant step towards strengthening the water distribution network for Urbandale residents.
 
A key aspect of this initiative involves the installation of approximately 2,200 feet of new water main within the western right-of-way of 70th Street. By replacing an aging water main, the Urbandale Water Utility aims to mitigate potential breaks, while also enhancing firefighting capabilities to bolster emergency response efforts.
 
Beginning on Saturday, September 9, 2023, the contractor will begin installing a new water main at the intersection of 70th Street and Aurora Avenue, resulting in a complete closure of the west leg of the intersection. This full closure is expected from Saturday, September 9 to Tuesday, September 12. Traffic will be detoured around the project site utilizing 71st Street and Prairie Avenue.
 
Following the completion of the water main installation at the 70th Street and Aurora Avenue intersection, the water main installation will continue to progress south along 70th Street towards Madison Avenue. The new water main will be installed in the west right-of-way of 70th Street. Closures of the outside southbound lane will occur in manageable, block-by-block intervals, ensuring a seamless flow of both traffic and progress. Crucially, water service line transfers will necessitate periodic closures of both the southbound and northbound lanes, alongside temporary closures of intersecting streets during critical connection procedures.
 
Residents and commuters are urged to be vigilant and plan their travel routes accordingly to circumvent the work zone. Please exercise caution and keep children and pets away from the construction area.
 
Due to the seasonal constraints imposed by Iowa’s weather conditions, and the resulting suspension of construction activities during the winter months, the projected completion date for this project is in June 2024.
 
For more information, contact Neil Weiss, Engineer, at nweiss@urbandalewater.org or 515-331-6842. For updates throughout the project, go to www.urbandale.org/water

Map of Work Area 23-24 Water Main Project

July 31, 2023 - National Night Out

The Urbandale Police Department will be hosting its 14th annual National Night Out celebration. This year’s theme is “OURS” to highlight the partnership between the community and the police department. “Our Unity Represents Strength”, whereas the Urbandale Police Department, Your Street, and My Neighborhood come together to make Our Community safer and stronger.

This celebration will include the Iowa National Guard Black Hawk helicopter landing near Martin Field. Other events include the return of the petting zoo, K-9 demonstration, bounce houses, dunk-a-cop tank, fire safety house, food & beverages, crafts, games and much more. This is a FREE public event including food, beverages, and giveaways.

When: Tuesday, August 1st, 2023, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Front lot of the Urbandale Police Department 3740 86th Street.

Parking Information: The public is encouraged to park at Walker Johnston Park, 9000 Douglas Ave and Urbandale City Hall, 3600 86th Street

July 12, 2023 - 40 Years and Counting: 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, 2022 by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). This is the 40th 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.

“This award is really a testament to Urbandale’s emphasis on transparency and smart government,” said Nicci Lamb, Finance Director. “To be awarded consecutively for 40 years speaks volumes about our City's long-term vision and commitment to sound fiscal management.” 

The City’s ACFR was evaluated by an independent and impartial panel of CPAs who judge the report’s compliance. A copy of the ACFR can be downloaded from the City of Urbandale’s website at: https://www.urbandale.org/230/Finance-Records.

June 5, 2023 - Douglas Parkway Roundabout Closing for Repairs

The City of Urbandale will begin pavement maintenance on the roundabout at the intersection of 142nd Street and Douglas Parkway on Thursday, June 8. Work will primarily take place at night to reduce disruptions to traffic. The intersection will be closed to all through traffic starting at 7 PM and be re-opened by 6 AM the next morning. Detours will be posted. The project is expected to take 4-5 nights of closures, depending on weather and nightly progress. The roundabout pavement will have full depth PCC patching and partial depth HMA patching, followed by an HMA overlay.

May 25, 2023 - Mosquito Control Program to Begin in June

Mosquito spraying in Urbandale neighborhoods is scheduled to begin in the month of June, 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. You can do your 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 shock@urbandale.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.

March 17, 2023 - Celebrate National Library Week April 23-29

Urbandale Public Library encourages all community members to visit the library during National Library Week, April 23-29, to explore all they have to offer.

Most people know about the wealth of stories available at the library, from picture books and large print to audiobooks and ebooks. But there's so much more to the story and we encourage everyone to be curious about what they can find at the library. 

Libraries are welcoming spaces that bring communities together for entertainment, education, and connection through book clubs, storytimes, movie nights, crafting classes, speakers, and more. Urbandale Public Library offers a wide array of programs, classes and resources, including databases like Des Moines Register ProQuest, meeting spaces, and DIY Lab. Besides books, the library’s collection includes cake pans, puzzles, and video games, just to name a few.

Libraries play a critical role in the economic vitality of communities by providing internet and technology access, literacy skills, and support for job seekers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. The library supplements these resources from programs like Social Security and retirement to promoting connectivity through hotspot checkouts.

To see the full story for yourself, stop by for a visit to celebrate with us during National Library Week, April 23-29. The library will be waiving $1 in overdue fines for each non-perishable food items donated during our Food for Fines event (held April 22-30). All food donations will be given to the Urbandale Food Pantry. We will also host a super-sized book sale in addition to a variety of programs for all ages. 

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association and libraries of all types across the country each April.

For more details on library resource, services, and programs, visit the library’s website: www.urbandalelibrary.org.

March 23, 2023 - Road Closed: 170th Street from Plum Drive to Waterford Road and Meredith Drive west of 170th Street 

The City of Urbandale will continue reconstruction of 170th Street from Meredith Drive to Waterford Road as a four-lane roadway with left turn lanes.

On Wednesday, March 29, 2023, 170th Street will be completely closed to all through traffic from Plum Drive to 100’ north of the Waterford Road intersection. The intersection of Plum Drive will remain open.  The intersection of Waterford Road will be closed.

On Monday, April 3, 2023, Meredith Drive will be completely closed to all through traffic from 600’ west of 170th Street to 170th Street.  The intersection of 170th Street will remain open.

Detours will be posted for all closures. Local traffic will be maintained. As work progresses, this complete closure will move, and updates will be posted on our website. The entire project including 170th Street Reconstruction is expected to be completed by late 2023.

March 7, 2023 - Urbandale Mayor Releases Statement on U-Plex Bond Referendum Vote

Tonight, Urbandale Mayor Robert Andeweg released the following statements on the conclusion of Urbandale’s Bond Referendum vote:

"The decision to bring the U-Plex project to a vote was a deliberate one, made by the City Council because we believed it was crucial to hear from our residents on this matter. I commend everyone who took the time to cast their ballot and participate in this important decision-making process.”

“Despite a great turnout, the required 60% approval threshold was not reached. I am grateful to the voters of our community for making their voices heard on this important issue. Regardless of the outcome, I deeply respect their decision and the democratic process that we all hold dear."

“The City is committed to continuing to work towards providing recreational opportunities for its residents and will explore other options moving forward.”

 For more information about the U-Plex and the bond referendum, visit the City of Urbandale's website.

March 6, 2023 - U-Plex Bond Referendum Vote on Tuesday, March 7

Residents in the City of Urbandale will vote tomorrow, Tuesday, March 7, on the proposed $43 million Community Recreation Complex and the City is reminding all eligible voters to participate in the election.

The Urbandale Community Recreation Complex, called U-Plex for short, is a proposed state-of-the-art recreation center that will offer indoor and outdoor activities for all ages. The future of the project hinges on the voters' decision regarding the bond referendum, which will help fund the project.

Residents are encouraged to learn more about the U-Plex project by visiting the City's website. The polls will be open from 7 AM to 8 PM on Tuesday, March 7, 2023. Urbandale residents can find their polling location and other voting information on the City's website.

February 9, 2023 - Citizen Fire Academy Application Period Now Open

The City of Urbandale’s Fire Department has opened the application period for its highly-anticipated Citizen Fire Academy. The program offers residents a one-of-a-kind chance to learn about the inner workings of the Urbandale Fire Department and the quality services it provides to the community.

Get ready to roll up your sleeves and immerse yourself in a hands-on, interactive learning experience that's both educational and exciting. The 7-week program will take place on Thursday evenings from 6-10 p.m. starting on Thursday, April 6, 2023, and is open to Urbandale residents ages 18 and older.

Classroom activities and live fire training sessions will give participants the opportunity to use Fire & EMS equipment, learn firefighting tactics, and understand the crucial role of firefighters in keeping the community safe. This program is an opportunity to see the fire department in action and understand the dedication and bravery of its members.

Interested residents can download applications and more information on the Citizen Fire Academy from the City of Urbandale website at www.urbandale.org. Applications must be received by March 3, 2023. Fire Marshal Jon Rech is available to answer any questions and can be reached at jrech@urbandale.org or 515-331-6733.

Don't miss out on this amazing opportunity to learn, grow, and have fun. Sign up for the Citizen Fire Academy today!

January 30, 2023 - Telephone System Upgrade for 9-1-1 

On Tuesday, January 31, 2023, Westcom Emergency Communications Center will be upgrading the 9-1-1 Telephone System which serves the Iowa cities of Clive, Urbandale, West Des Moines, Waukee, Norwalk, and Windsor Heights.

This upgrade will mark the integration of our 9-1-1 Telephone System with Computer Aided Dispatching (CAD) software, bringing improved efficiencies in the flow of information from 9-1-1 callers, through our dispatchers, to emergency responders. The upgrade moves Westcom towards compliance with the National Emergency Number Association’s (NENA) i3 Standard for 9-1-1 Telephone Systems while also increasing capacity to answer 9-1-1 calls, 9-1-1 text messages, and non-emergency calls while enhancing system reliability.

If callers attempting to call 9-1-1 in Clive, Urbandale, West Des Moines, Waukee, Norwalk, or Windsor Heights receive a fast busy signal or otherwise cannot connect to a dispatcher, please hang-up and dial 515-222-3321 to request police, fire, or emergency medical services.

The Westcom Emergency Communications Center has for over 20 years been a model for inter-governmental cooperation and efficiencies, serving as the emergency communication center for the communities of Clive, Urbandale, West Des Moines, Waukee, Norwalk, and Windsor Heights.

January 17, 2023 - Roger Schemmel Named Building Official of the Year by Iowa Association of Building Officials

Roger Schemmel, Building Official for the City of Urbandale, has been named the 2023 Building Official of the Year by the Iowa Association of Building Officials (IABO). The award was presented at the IABO's annual banquet on Thursday, January 12, 2023.
 
 The Building Official of the Year award is considered to be one of the most prestigious in the building industry. It is given to a building official who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, dedication, and service to the profession.
 
 "We are thrilled to see Roger recognized for his exceptional work in the field of building code enforcement," said City Manager A.J. Johnson. "He has made a real impact in ensuring the safety and well-being of the citizens of Urbandale, as well as providing guidance to other building officials across the state. He is a true professional and an asset to our community."
 
 Roger Schemmel has been with the City of Urbandale for over 18 years and has been the building official for the last seven years—and has been a member of the IABO for nearly 20 years. He has also served on several committees and boards, including the IABO Legislative and Education Committees and served as the IABO Chapter President in 2018 and 2019.
 
 "The IABO organization is proud to recognize Roger Schemmel as the 2023 Building Official of the Year,” said Neil Bombei, IABO President. “His contributions to our field and his dedication to serving the community are truly exemplary.  He is a true ambassador of the IABO brand.”

January 11, 2023 - Urbandale City Council Approves Ballot Language for Bond Referendum for Proposed Community Recreation Complex; Residents to Vote on $43 Million Complex in March

The Urbandale City Council has approved ballot language for a bond referendum that will give residents the opportunity to vote on the proposed $43 million Urbandale Community Recreation Complex (U-Plex).

The U-Plex, which would be located at the southeast corner of Meredith Drive and 152nd in Walnut Creek Regional Park, has been identified as a priority in the city's master planning for more than 16 years. In December 2022, the City Council approved the conceptual design plans and cost projections for the project.

The bond referendum, which will be held on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, will ask residents to vote on whether the City should design, construct, and outfit the U-Plex and associated amenities.

The U-Plex will feature a wide range of amenities, including pickleball courts, an indoor walking track, basketball courts, rentable space, an outdoor regional playground and sprayground, and an indoor playground. The preliminary design was created with community feedback to meet the growing recreational needs of the community.

"Urbandale is a growing and thriving community, and the U-Plex is a testament to that growth," said Jan Herke, Director of Parks & Recreation. "It will provide a wide range of recreational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities and contribute to the overall quality of life in our city."

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.”

To view conceptual renderings and for more information about the U-Plex and the bond referendum, visit the City of Urbandale's website at www.Urbandale.org/uplex.