Press Release - 2021

September 15, 2021 - Urbandale Ranked One of the Best Places to Live for Second Year in a Row

Urbandale, Iowa ranked No. 40 on Money’s 2021-2022 “Best Places to Live” list. Money looks at cities and towns across America with populations of at least 25,000 and then narrows the list by collecting and analyzing more than 300,000 different data points. Money considers data about economic factors like cost of living, economic opportunity, diversity, education, amenities, health and safety, housing, and overall quality of life.

“We’ve made the ‘Best Places to Live’ list numerous times,” said Mayor Bob Andeweg. “Year after year, Urbandale continues to rank nationally thanks to our outstanding amenities, amazing schools, and wonderful residents and businesses.”

Urbandale’s population now exceeds 45,000 people and continues to grow steadily upward. Urbandale has been busy this year planning with the Buccaneers hockey team and the City of Des Moines to build a new arena at Merle Hay Mall. The new project will revitalize the area with a mix of housing, a new hotel, and expand entertainment options. The City is also finishing phase one of a natural playscape park in western Urbandale to compliment the 50+ miles of paved trails already in the community.

“Everything we have accomplished this year combines to make Urbandale feel like home,” said Mayor Andeweg. “Money’s ranking is an endorsement of the work of city leaders, businesses, and residents.”

August 10, 2021 - 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.

  • Tuesday, August 10: 9AM–8:30PM
  • Wednesday, August 11: 9AM–8:30PM
  • Thursday, August 12: 9AM–8:30PM
  • Friday, August 13: 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.

August 9, 2021 - Mosquito Spraying Continues in Urbandale

Mosquito spraying in Urbandale neighborhoods will continue this week, weather permitting, and end 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 Jan Herke, Director of Parks & Recreation at jherke@urandale.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.

July 23, 2021 - Aurora Avenue Closing for Railroad Crossing Improvements

Aurora Avenue between NW Urbandale Drive and 109th Street will be closed starting at 6 AM on Wednesday, July 28, for railroad crossing improvements. It’s anticipated that the work will be completed by Saturday, July 31.

July 23, 2021 - Cooling Center to Open in Urbandale

The City of Urbandale will be opening a cooling center for residents due to dangerously hot temperatures forecasted for the next several days. The center location and open hours are as follows:

Urbandale Public Library, 3520 86th Street.

  • Saturday, July 24: 9AM–6PM
  • Sunday, July 25: NOON–6PM
  • Monday, July 26: 9AM–8:30PM
  • Tuesday, July 27: 9AM–8:30PM
  • Wednesday, July 28: 9AM–8:30PM
  • Thursday, July 29: 9AM–8:30PM
  • Friday, July 30: 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.

June 25, 2021 - Merle Hay Mall and Des Moines Buccaneers Project Advances  

Today the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board awarded provisional funding of $26.5 million to support the Merle Hay Campus Reinvestment project through the Iowa Reinvestment Act.

Reinvestment into the Merle Hay Campus will transform the space formerly occupied by Younkers into a multi-use arena that will be the home of the United States Hockey League’s Des Moines Buccaneers. The current food court and Kohl’s department store space will be part of a multi-sport training and competition center. A new Kohl’s store facing Merle Hay Road will be among the first of several major investments including new retail, residential, entertainment, and hospitality projects across the Merle Hay campus. The new Kohl’s store is expected to open spring 2022.

Liz Holland represents the third generation of Merle Hay Mall ownership. “We are grateful to the IEDA Board for their support of our exciting project. We know they had difficult choices to make and we are happy with our allocation. IEDA support is a critical step in making our Buccaneers  project a reality. We are now focusing on next steps to meet our ambitious time frame,” Holland said.

“This is great news for the community,” said Michael Devlin, Managing Partner of OVSE, owners of the Des Moines Buccaneers. “Families have enjoyed watching the Bucs play in Urbandale for 40 uninterrupted years before the derecho forced us to temporarily relocate last year. We are so thankful to everyone who has supported our project that will provide a venue for the community to be proud of for years to come. The new facility will return the Buccaneers to best in class in the United States Hockey League. This is a tremendous step forward for a very important concept and we look forward to announcing additional partnerships soon.”

A partnership of the Cities of Urbandale and Des Moines, Polk County, Merle Hay Mall and the Des Moines Buccaneers submitted an application for an allocation of $30 million to support over $120 million in total investment. The $26.5 million amount allocated to the project is not a grant. Rather, it would come from the collection of a portion of the increased sales and lodging taxes generated on the Merle Hay Campus over twenty years. The project is expected to generate an economic impact of $127 million to the State of Iowa.

Urbandale Mayor Bob Andeweg commented: “Urbandale is proud of the partnership that has come together to make the Merle Hay Campus an asset for the region and all of Iowa. Transformational projects like this are only possible with leadership from many public and private partners.”

The Merle Hay Campus includes portions in both Cities of Urbandale and Des Moines. “The City of Des Moines is very pleased with the approval from the IEDA Board,” said Des Moines Councilmember Bill Gray. “This transformational project is not only a wonderful example of cooperation between two cities, but also involves Polk County, and now the State. This project is located in an existing and older part of town in both Des Moines and Urbandale, and the infusion of this project will bring additional excitement and vitality to these neighborhoods, the two cities, the County, and the State.”

With this action by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Merle Hay Campus Reinvestment team will work on a final Iowa Reinvestment Act application and move forward with required planning, zoning, and building permitting steps to allow construction of the project to begin.

June 25, 2021 - Mosquito Control Program to Begin

Mosquito spraying in Urbandale neighborhoods is scheduled to begin on Thursday, July 2, weather permitting, and continue until the fall season 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 Kevin James, Assistant Director of Parks at kjames@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 and Recreation Department at 515-331-6799.

June 14, 2021 - 100th Street Road Closure Notice 

The Urbandale Water Utility is replacing the water main on Douglas Avenue from 104th Street to 100th Street.

On Wednesday, June 16, 2021, the northbound lanes of 100th Street will be closed to all traffic from Douglas Avenue to 100 feet north of Douglas Avenue.  The closure will last approximately 6 days and be re-opened on Monday afternoon, June 21, 2021, weather and work permitting.

A detour will be posted, directing vehicles from 100th Street east to 86th Street, north to Meredith Drive, and west to NW Urbandale Drive. 

Updates are available from the Urbandale Water Utility at 515-278-3940.

June 7, 2021 - GFOA Awards Certificate of Achievement for Excellence to City of Urbandale

Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to City of Urbandale for its comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020. The report has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive "spirit of full disclosure" to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the report.

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.

April 6, 2021 - Moody’s Affirms Urbandale’s Strong Aa1 Credit Rating

Moody’s Investors Service on Thursday, April 1, affirmed the City of Urbandale’s Aa1 bond rating on approximately $91 million of outstanding general obligation unlimited tax (GOULT) debt. Factors that led to the rating include Urbandale’s healthy financial operations and reserves, affluent and growing tax base, and ample revenue raising flexibility.

“Securing a strong credit rating helps to ensure that the City of Urbandale can continue to maintain lower-cost borrowing capabilities," said Nicci Lamb, Finance Director. "Because of our financial stability, we are able to provide exceptional quality municipal services which make Urbandale a great place to live.”

“The City of Urbandale appreciates these strong ratings,” said Mayor Bob Andeweg. “It underscores the long-term commitment of the City Council and staff for strong fiscal discipline, operational excellence, and a close ad­herence to our strategic priorities and mission.”­

Moody’s Investors Service is a global provider of credit ratings, research, and risk analysis. Urbandale’s Finance and Records Department manages the financial integrity of the City. Learn more at: https://www.urbandale.org/230/Finance-Records 

April 5, 2021 - Urbandale Public Library and NFC to Host Virtual “House Party”

The Urbandale Public Library and the Neighborhood Finance Corporation (NFC) will host a virtual “house party” event to educate community members about unique lending programs and other services to facilitate neighborhood revitalization now available in specific areas of Urbandale.  This free event will take place online Monday, April 12 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. 

Attendees will learn about the NFC’s home purchase and refinance programs, “front porch” home improvement loans, and hear firsthand how one area resident has used these programs.  A panel of local housing experts will be on hand to answer questions.  Attendees will also be entered into a drawing for gift certificates to Do Overz, an Urbandale furniture consignment store.

“The NFC team is really looking forward to sharing more information about our lending programs with those that live in NFC’s Urbandale lending area or are thinking of buying a home in the area,” said NFC Executive Director Stephanie Murphy.  “We appreciate the partnership with the City of Urbandale and are very appreciative of the Urbandale Public Library for sponsoring a House Party.”

The event is free and open to the public.  Pre-registration is required to receive the link to participate in this virtual program.  To register, visit www.urbandalelibrary.org or call 515-278-3945, option 1. If you are a person with a disability who requires special assistance, please call 515-331-6765 in advance. 

April 1, 2021 - Urbandale Public Library to Host Food for Fines Event April 5 - 13

The Urbandale Public Library will host a “Food for Fines” event from Monday, April 5 – Tuesday, April 13 in honor of National Library Week.  

Library cardholders are encouraged to bring in non-perishable food or new, full-sized personal care items (shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.) in exchange for clearing overdue fines from their library accounts:  1 non-perishable food item = $0.50 of fines forgiven; 1 personal care item* = $1.00 of fines forgiven.  All items collected will be donated to the Urbandale Food Pantry. 

For more than a decade, the Urbandale Public Library has hosted a one-day Food for Fines event in honor of MLK Day in January.  Library Director Nicholas Janning says this year’s multi-day event is both a gesture of goodwill to the community and a celebration.  “The theme for this year’s National Library Week is, ‘Welcome to Your Library.’  For us, the theme is ‘Welcome Back to Your Library!”  After almost a year of being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve opened our doors for browsing and other services.  We look forward to seeing our patrons again and helping provide the Food Pantry with some much-needed resources.”  

To learn more about the Food for Fines event guidelines, library hours, and available services, visit www.urbandalelibrary.org or call 515-278-3945, option 1. 

January 27, 2021 - Urbandale One of Six Fire Departments in Iowa Selected to Participate in Nationwide Community Risk Pilot Program

The Urbandale Fire Department was one of 250 Fire Departments selected nationwide by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to participate in the second phase of a pilot program to build a digital tool that helps community leaders make data-informed decisions around fire prevention and other community risk-reduction (CCR) activities in their communities.

“Community risk reduction actions are those actions that help prevent and mitigate the loss of life and property in our community,” said Urbandale Fire Chief Jerry Holt. “While we are the Fire Department, our mission goes well beyond just dealing with fires. We are constantly looking for ways to improve the safety of everyone in our community.”

Innovative technology and access to data is now be combined in new ways to help Fire Departments aggregate and disseminate data that pinpoint where risks exist within a given community. 

The first phase of the pilot project, which included participation from 50 Fire Departments across the country, helped identify needed features of the digital tool. The second phase of the program involves participation from 250 Fire Departments nationwide (including six in Iowa: Urbandale, Ankeny, Hiawatha, Marion, Mason City, and Oskaloosa), and the Urbandale Fire Department will provide insights around the use of the dashboard through June of 2021 to help continue refining and enhancing its effectiveness.

“Participation in this project allows each Fire Department to provide important feedback that will be used to improve future versions of the dashboard, positions the community among CRR leaders in the United States, and signals an interest in leveraging technology to drive high-quality community safety initiatives,” said Karen Berard-Reed, community risk reduction strategist at NFPA.

As a participant in the pilot program, Urbandale Fire Department will have free access to the dashboard, which includes customized maps, charts, and graphs that illustrate each community’s risks and hazards across a variety of categories such as demographics, geography, building stock, economics, infrastructure, and event loss history. The dashboard also provides a snapshot of local capacity for risk reduction activities with information about public safety response agencies and community service organizations.

“We are excited to be chosen as one of 250 Fire Departments nationwide—and one of only six in Iowa to be a part of this process,” said Chief Holt. “This experience will enhance our ability to identify and evaluate the risk in our community and strengthen our ability to identify programs to address those risks.”

For more information online, visit www.nfpa.org/crr.