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The Urbandale Council Recap is a brief highlight of the City Council meetings. The recap is not minutes of the Council meeting. Minutes are considered and approved at the subsequent Council meeting.

April 13, 2021 - Council Worksession

The Mayor and City Council met for a worksession to review a presentation (YouTube) on the Central Iowa Water Trails project and a presentation from Central Iowa Shelter & Services. The City Council will meet again for a regularly scheduled council meeting on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

April 6, 2021 - Regular Council Meeting

The Mayor called the meeting to order and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Urbandale City Council meetings continue to be held in a hybrid model allowing for both in-person and electronic participation.

The City Council approved a $5 million contract for the Douglas Avenue Urbanization project which will modernize the area from North Walnut Creek to 100th Street. Curbs, gutters, and storm sewers will be added throughout the corridor; milling, patching, and overlay of the westbound lanes; patching of eastbound lanes; the addition of a 10-foot trail and 5-foot sidewalk on the north side of the street; and the addition of a 5-foot sidewalk on the south side of the street. The Douglas Avenue Urbanization project is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

The City Council approved a $45,000 bank stabilization project on Walnut Creek just north of Waterford Road. Approximately 150 feet of bank shaping and five bendway weirs will be installed to provide long-term creek bank stability. The City Council also approved a $36,000 bid for trail renovations at various locations around the city.

The Mayor and City Council will meet again for a worksession on Tuesday, April 13.

March 23, 2021 - Regular Council Meeting

The Mayor called the meeting to order and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Urbandale City Council meetings continue to be held in a hybrid model allowing for both in-person and electronic participation.

Polk County Supervisor Robert Brownell gave an update on COVID-19 vacations, noting that about 16% of Iowa residents had been vaccinated, including almost all of Iowa’s healthcare workers.

The City Council approved a $155,000 bid for masonry repairs on Fire Station 43. Last year several major masonry issues were still outstanding. The City has pending litigation with the original contractor and selected a different contractor to complete the repairs.

The City Council approved a site plan for an 80-unit senior multi-family residential development near 142nd Street and the Douglas Parkway roundabout. The building is designed to have four wings with a variety of studio, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom units and then share a one-story common space. As part of this project, an 8-foot trail on the east side of the building will ultimately connect to the trail system into Timberline Creek and Walnut Creek Regional Park. At the same corner of the roundabout, the City Council approved a site plan for a 13,000 square foot child day care center.

The City Council lowered the property tax rate, unanimously approving the upcoming fiscal year budget and setting the tax levy rate at $10.11. This is a $0.05 reduction from the current levy. The budget anticipates expenditures of $56 million for municipal operations, $22 million for capital projects, and $18 million to service debt. You can review the entire budget here.

The Council will meet again on Tuesday, April 6 for a regularly scheduled meeting.

March 16, 2021 - Council Worksession

The Mayor and City Council met for a worksession to discuss a beekeeping ordinance, an update on the Senior Recreation Center re-opening plan, and a COVID-19 operational update. While no official action was taken, the Mayor directed staff to begin preparing a beekeeping ordinance for adoption at a later council meeting. The City Council will meet again for a regularly scheduled council meeting on Tuesday March 23, 2021.

March 9, 2021 - Regular Council Meeting

The City Council approved a project to improve the Police Station’s stormwater drainage and approved the construction of a shelter at Walnut Creek Regional Park. The cost for both projects will be approximately $650,000 and should be completed by fall.

The City Council authorized the City Manager to solicit bids for the demolition of the indoor swimming pool facility and issue refunds for all outstanding credits associated with the facility and its programs. A plan has been created to close the swimming pool, repurpose as much of the equipment as possible at other City locations, and to return the land back to the Urbandale Community School District. Over the summer the City will demolish the facility. Prior to the pandemic, the Mayor appointed a committee to utilize all the data gathered from the 2018 Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan and 2016 Aquatics Facility Feasibility Study to prepare a recommendation for a future facility that will provide for the recreational needs of the citizens of Urbandale. The work was put on hold at the onset of the pandemic, but is now ready to be restarted. The committee will work to provide design renderings and cost estimates related to a new recreation facility ahead of a public bond referendum, which is needed for any facility to be constructed.

A closed session was held at the end of the meeting to discuss a negotiation strategy and pending litigation. The City Council will meet again on March 23.

February 24, 2021 - Council Worksession

The Mayor and City Council met for a work session to discuss future plans for Urbandale’s Indoor Public Swimming Pool. The pool has been closed since March 2020 due to COVID-19 and was drained during the pandemic to reduce costs. Staff from the Parks & Recreation and Finance departments were present to answer questions regarding funding and operations.

While no official action was taken, the Mayor directed staff to begin preparing plans for closing the pool. Residents can share comments regarding the pool prior to the Council meeting by emailing parks-rec@urbandale.org and are welcome to attend the March 9, 2021 Council meeting virtually.

February 23, 2021 - Regular Council Meeting

The City Council approved a $190,000 bid for the construction of the first phase of Coyote Ridge Trail. The new trail link will run through the Coyote Ridge Park area, located west of 146th Street and north of Waterford Road. An additional section of trail will continue east and then north to connect to an existing trail behind residential homes in this area. A small playground and shade structure with picnic tables will be bid and constructed in the future as a separate project. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of September 2021.

The City Council approved a $210,000 bid for the continued construction of community entrance signage around town. This project will construct four signs in total, adding two monument signs at the Meredith Drive Interchange at Interstate 35/80 and two monument signs at the 100th Street Interchange at Interstate 35/80. Construction is expected to be completed by October 2021.

The City Council approved a $225,000 bid to enhance the open space in Walnut Creek Regional Park at the corner of 152nd Street and Meredith Drive. This project will provide an entrance to the park that will include a natural setting with a trail, sitting areas, rain garden, landscaped areas, and trees.

Individual bids were recently solicited for several pieces of equipment including an excavator, forklift, tractor, and a wood chipper. The council approved the bids for new equipment totaling almost $200,000.

The Council will meet again on Wednesday, February 24th for a worksession to discuss future operations for the Urbandale Indoor Public Swimming Pool.

February 16, 2021 - Council Worksession

The City Council met for a worksession on Tuesday, February 16 via videoconference. The City Council received a report from staff summarizing the 2020 Urbandale Citizen Survey. Read the full results on the City website.

The Urbandale Public Library director provided an overview of the Library’s reopening plan. The interior of the Library had largely been closed from March 2020 until this month. The Library anticipates a hybrid model which allows for some Library interior browsing while continuing curbside service. For more details on the Library’s offerings and COVID mitigation policies, see the Library reopening section on the Library website.

The City Manager and Council discussed potential approaches for landscaping of City-owned rights-of way. Councilmembers shared perspectives on beautification of roadways and recognized facets like financing, prioritization and feasibility that would need to be addressed.  The City Manager will share potential options for the City Council’s future consideration.

February 9, 2021 - Regular Council Meeting

The Mayor called the meeting to order and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Urbandale City Council meetings continue to be held electronically.

Each year, the City of Urbandale patches a number of city streets that are in need of repair. This work is divided into two phases—Phase 1 (costing $1,130,000) and Phase 2 (costing $513,000). The Council approved the low bid for Phase 1, which will replace concrete pavement at more than 300 locations from 147th Street to 160th Street and from Maple Drive to Airline Avenue. The Council also approved the low bid for Phase 2, which will consist of replacing concrete pavement at more than 100 locations including areas of Holcomb Avenue, the Hickman Frontage Road, 70th Street, 70th Place, 71st Street, and 72nd Street.

The City Council established a public hearing at the Council Meeting on February 23, 2021 to consider the proposed fiscal year 2021-2022 property tax levy of $10.11 per thousand dollars of valuation. This would be a reduction of 5 cents per thousand from the current fiscal year.

The Council approved the low bid to reconstruct Waterford Road from 156th Street to 142nd Street as a four-lane roadway with left turn lanes and storm sewer. This project will cost nearly $4,500,000 and is anticipated to be completed by the end of November 2021.

The City Council approved a pre-application to the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) for the Iowa Reinvestment Act to transform and revitalize the Merle Hay Mall campus area. The proposed project includes a new 3,500 seat multi-use arena, a hockey training and competition center, a 4-story hotel, new retail opportunities, and new housing opportunities to add much-needed affordable workforce and senior living housing.

The City Council approved the purchase and installation of an outdoor warning siren at Alice's Road between Meredith and Waterford Road. The City applied for and received a grant from the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help fund this purchase. That grant covers 85% of the cost of this project and the total cost of the project is almost $26,000. The new siren will cover an area in the general location of Radiant Elementary School on Alice's Road.

A closed session was held at the end of the meeting to discuss a negotiation strategy and pending litigation. The City Council will meet again on February 16 to discuss the results from the citizen survey.

January 23 & 25, 2021 – Budget Worksessions

The City Council met on Saturday the 23rd, and Monday the 25th for budget worksessions. The Mayor, City Council, and City Staff worked to allocate nearly $56 million of operating expenditures across various departments and services. The upcoming budget for Fiscal Year 2022 will recommend a tax levy of $10.11 which is a 5 cent reduction over the current levy. The new budget will also recommend 4 new full-time positions, including 3 new firefighters. The City saw a 4.6% growth in property valuation. 

The City Council also received a presentation from staff regarding stormwater management on the Merle Hay Mall campus and in the larger watershed in which it is located. Management of stormwater to protect natural resources and property remains a priority for the City Council.

The City Council will meet again on Tuesday, January 26 for the regularly scheduled council meeting.

January 12, 2021 - Regular Council Meeting

The Mayor called the meeting to order and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Urbandale City Council meetings continue to be held electronically.

The Mayor administered the Oath of Office to Adam Kaduce. Kaduce has been temporarily appointed to the City Council to fill the role of Councilmember Matt Blake while he is on federal active duty orders with the Iowa Army National Guard. The Mayor also proclaimed Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a “Day of Service” in Urbandale and called upon the people of the community to pay tribute to the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through participation in community service projects on January 18, and throughout the year.

The City Council approved the Capital Improvements Program (CIP). The CIP anticipates expenditures of $22,618,800 in the 2021 construction year. The CIP is a ten-year program that identifies the City's maintenance and development needs of public art, buildings, equipment, technology, parks, bridges, sidewalks, storm sewers, streets, street lighting, traffic signals, and water system.

Des Moines and Urbandale are working together to assist in a major revitalization of the Merle Hay campus area into a shopping and entertainment destination (anchored by a new 3,500 seat multi-use arena for the Des Moines Buccaneers, a competition and training center, and a 150-room hotel). The Urbandale City Council approved the signing of an agreement with the City of Des Moines to establish a joint board to support the creation of a reinvestment district for the Merle Hay Mall campus.