Waukee has transformed from a small bedroom community (in 1999, the population was 5,076) to a city with a current estimated population of 22,810 (U.S. Census Bureau), following 10.3 percent growth in 2018. As that upward trend is expected to continue, the City will look to the new Imagine Waukee 2040 Comprehensive Plan to guide thoughtful planning for the future.
City of Waukee officials partnered with consulting firm Hoisington Koegler Group, Inc. in early 2017 to develop a new comprehensive plan. The team worked internally, formed a community advisory committee and reached out to the public for feedback. A draft Imagine Waukee 2040 plan was released in early 2019; the public was asked to comment. After incorporating comments, the plan was finalized and approved by the City Council in March.
“Community input opportunities included traditional public meetings, pop-up events and online components including a live, mapping tool,” said Waukee Development Services Director Brad Deets. “We were happy to receive such great citizen feedback. It just shows that shareholders are committed to making Waukee an even better community.”
The Imagine Waukee 2040 Guiding Principles include:Coordinated and efficient growth managementEconomic and fiscal strengthA community of diversityA focus on technology and innovationA focus on quality design and distinct placesA comprehensive and multi-modal transportation systemStewardship of the natural environmentA united and accessible communityTrails, parks and recreational opportunitiesQuality of life in neighborhoods and gathering places
Those guiding principles set the stage for addressing key themes of building Waukee’s future.
As boundaries continue to expand, a framework for the future use of land is top of mind. Imagine Waukee 2040 lays out land use typology and a new land use map. While residential acreage remains dominant, the new plan provides a general framework for the development of four sub-areas or key “districts”. Those include the Hickman Road Corridor (a mixed use corridor), Downtown Waukee (a mixed use village), Kettlestone/Grand Prairie Parkway (a series of mixed use villages) and the future Civic Campus (a mixed use town center).
Land use goals include maintaining Downtown Waukee as an attractive and historic destination; establishing the Kettlestone District as a key employment center in the metro; and maintaining a healthy balance in land uses between residential, commercial, office/business park, industrial and park/open space; among others.
Waukee issued a record $40 million of valuation in commercial building permits in 2018. In an effort to continue that momentum, economic development strategies are addressed in the plan. Goals include promoting efficient retention and development of high-quality and attractive commercial and industrial areas; promoting Waukee as a great place for investment and employment; attracting quality commercial and industrial developments; and attracting and developing a quality labor force.
A housing needs assessment was completed by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach staff in 2017. It indicated that an additional 571 housing units were needed in the community at the time of the study and that 2,684 housing units would be needed by 2026. Housing goals in the plan include maintaining a balanced housing supply, establishing a housing pattern that respects the natural environment, and establishing a community of well-maintained housing and neighborhoods.
Parks, Trails, Recreation and Open Space
The City of Waukee’s tagline is “The Key to Good Living”, and one of the elements of good living is recreation. City officials greatly value providing enriching amenities for residents. Imagine Waukee 2040 addresses accessibility, preserving natural resources, developing greenways and trails, providing a system of neighborhood parks, focusing on public art and building new signature amenities.
“This is an exciting time to be planning the future of the Waukee Parks system,” said Waukee Parks & Recreation Director Matt Jermier. “We already are adding amenities such as the new splash pad at Fox Creek Park and the new Community Park & Youth Sports Complex. The comprehensive plan sets a path for us to continue to add value to the lives of community members by way of recreational opportunities.”
Transportation and Mobility
In recent years, the City has worked to add Grand Prairie Parkway to the Waukee streets system and is finishing work to widen Alice’s Road. The robust transportation plan features goals to integrate alternative transportation modes, develop an environmentally and fiscally sustainable transportation system, mitigate traffic congestion and flow, and more.
Community Facilities and Infrastructure
Aging and crowded public buildings are addressed, with mention of a Civic Campus potentially to include a new City Hall, library, arts center, aquatic center, etc. The plan also lays out demand projections for water use, the sanitary sewer system and stormwater management.
All of these components will collide over the next two decades to set up Waukee and its stakeholders for success and help the community plan responsibly for more progress.
“Imagine Waukee 2040 is a living, breathing document,” said Deets. “It steers us in a positive direction with guidelines but also still allows for flexibility as changes might occur to the economy, technological advances and so on. All in all, we are very excited to get started on these improvements.”
City staff and Hoisington Koegler Group, Inc. would like to thank all City officials, committee members and citizens who provided opinions and ideas during the comprehensive plan development process.