Giovannetti Shelter

Please follow all current CDC Guidelines during rental.

Available for rent Monday - Sunday

The Giovannetti Community Shelter at Walker Johnston Park is one of three enclosed facilities available for rent. This shelter opened September 2013 and can accommodate up to 180 people. The shelter has approximately 3,000 square feet of rental space, a kitchen and fireplace. The shelter also has a 60-feet by 30-feet outdoor covered patio. The shelter has 16, 6 foot round tables, 8, 18" x 6’ rectangle tables and 180 chairs. The shelter is heated and air conditioned. The shelter is located in Walker Johnston Park, at 8900 Douglas Avenue.

The shelter is also designed as a tornado safe room and is made of precast concrete panels. During severe weather the shelter can accommodate up to 600 people seeking shelter from the severe weather.

Click here for a video tour of Giovannetti.

ALL time slots INCLUDE your set-up and clean-up time.

Monday - Friday daytime Rental Rates

  • 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. - $40 per hour with a 3-hour minimum rental (+ $40 nonresident surcharge per rental).

Monday - Friday evening Rental Rates

  • 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. - $450 resident, $490 nonresident.

Saturday - Sunday Rental Rates (and Holidays)

  • 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. - $525 resident, $565 nonresident
  • 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. - $450 resident, $490 nonresident
  • 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. - $925 resident, $965 nonresident

In addition to the rental rate, a $200 refundable deposit is required.

For more information, click here for a sample contract of the Giovannetti Community Shelter or see the room diagram.

How Do I Rent?  ONLINE STARTING JANUARY 5, 2021

Starting Tuesday, January 5, 2021, all customers (residents of Urbandale and non-residents of Urbandale) will be able to reserve the Giovannetti Community Shelter ONLINE and also 365 days in advance through our online registration system.   

The full rental fee, plus a $200 refundable deposit is required at the time of reservation. The deposit is refunded 2 weeks after the rental, providing all the rules and regulations are followed. If the reservation is made less than two weeks before the rental date, the full amount must be paid by credit card.

Questions?  Call Urbandale Parks and Recreation at 515-278-3963

Mobile Food Vendors / Food Trucks during Private Facility Rentals 

If you are utilizing a mobile food vendor / food truck(s) during your private facility rental through Urbandale Parks & Recreation, your food vendor must contact the Urbandale Fire Marshal at 515-278-3970 for an onsite inspection. (This must be scheduled in advanced for the day of the rental).  

Renter assumes ALL responsibility and liability of food vendor(s) / food truck(s) at their rental.  Food Trucks should be licensed, carry adequate insurance, and pass a fire inspection.  Renters are responsible for the collection and retention of this information for their benefit.  

Vendors can set-up and operate only during the scheduled hours of the rental and provide their own necessary utilities.  Vendors must park in a designated parking stall.  More than 2 mobile food vendors during your rental requires permission from the Urbandale Parks and Recreation Department.

Credit/Debit Card Service Fees - Effective January, 2019

Please be aware that a non-refundable credit/debit card service fee of 3.95% applies to all in-office and over-the phone credit/debit card transactions with the City of Urbandale (including Parks and Recreation). To avoid the credit card transaction fee, simply pay by check or cash in office. Watch our website for further updates. Thank you! 

A picnic table next to a community facility in a wooded city park
A round table next to a fireplace in an indoor community facility
A kitchen area of an indoor community facility
A large community room filled with chairs and round tables set up for an event
Giovannetti Community Shelter
Giovannetti Hallway

Background on E.J. Giovannetti Community Shelter

Giovannetti Community Shelter is named after E.J. Giovannetti.  E.J. grew up a farm boy – but not an Iowa farm boy. The son of a California produce farmer, he married Deanna Greco of Des Moines, whom he met while attending Omaha's Creighton University. After E.J. earned a law degree from Creighton in 1966, the couple settled in Urbandale and he eventually joined the Hopkins and Huebner law firm. When a debilitating illness struck his young wife, E.J. raised their two children alone. For years until Deanna's death in 1979, he astounded doctors, nurses, friends, colleagues, and family with his quiet but steadfast devotion to his wife. He sometimes explained that he turned to public service as a diversion during that difficult time, and he found personal satisfaction from contributing to the community.

E.J. was appointed mayor of Urbandale in 1977 and remained in that position for the next two decades, guiding the city's growth and development before spending another 10 years as a Polk County supervisor. He also served on dozens of boards and commissions in the community and worked passionately to improve services for victims of sexual assault – which he personally called perhaps his most important effort.

But few men are afforded the luxury of truly determining their own legacies, and other people ultimately dictate which of a person's deeds are forgotten and which are committed to history.

Some say it's important that E.J. Giovannetti built parks and trails; others cite how deftly he built consensus. Some recount leadership ability and vision to create, embrace, articulate, and promote ideas. Others say what's more important is how masterfully he secured the support necessary to make ideas become realities.

On Aug. 22, 2013, the Giovannetti Community Shelter in Urbandale's Walker Johnston Park was dedicated to honor E.J., because the mission of the facility so closely aligns to the personal priorities he demonstrated: happy occasions with family and friends, unity within the community and protection for all persons during their worst storms.

With this symbolic gesture, may E. J. Giovannetti be recognized, appreciated and emulated by the future generations of Urbandale and Polk County residents whose quality of life as been so significantly enhanced by his longtime, selfless public service.