The city of Grimes has seen significant residential growth over the last two decades, with a population that has grown from 2,653 in 1990 to more than 8,200 residents 20 years later. With this increase in population, the city is also seeing new business development and expansions. Major employers are adding jobs, and new businesses are moving to Grimes. The city is also spending significant dollars downtown, adding a facelift and amenities to the town’s historic business district.
With the great reputation of Dallas Center-Grimes schools, more housing in town and several quality of life projects, the future for Grimes development looks bright.
One of the biggest highlights in Grimes economic development this year is the housing boom, according to Brian Buethe, director of Grimes Chamber and Economic Development. In addition to an increase in single-family homes, Buethe says the city is also seeing an increase in multi-family units like they never have before, such as an addition to the Meadowlark Apartments complex. The first buildings opened a year ago and featured 120 units. Hubbell has since added 84 units to the complex, with the last building just having been completed.
“It’s been a great partnership for us,” says Kris Saddoris, vice president of development for Hubbell. “Grimes is one of our favorite cities because we get great support from the community and mayor and city. Ninety-five percent of our residents come from outside the city, so you’re bringing growth and families into Grimes. With this complex, the city of Grimes can expand by 200 families in a two-year period. You could never add 200 homes in that time.
“We have a lot of families, who for a lot of different reasons, want to rent intitally. They want to enter a community that way and get their kids in the schools and then figure out where they want to live. It’s great to be able to provide that to new residents to town.”
Governors District undergoes improvements
An area that has seen a big change is the Governors District, the area of downtown Grimes on S.E. Main Street.
Work on the area began in May, and businesses have recently seen the area get a new sidewalk, the roadway painted and sod replaced. Light pole bases have also been installed, and the vision of the project is starting to be realized.
Several businesses in the district, such as B2E Marketing and Landry Anna Designs, have already begun the process of renovating old buildings in the area. Those in the Governors District Alliance hope that the city’s improvements to the area will spur further activity and new business development. Alliance President Keith Snow has been a vocal proponent of the area and the city’s plan for improvements. He is hopeful that one day the area will be a destination in Grimes, celebrating Grimes’ history and giving people from outside the city a reason to visit.
Along with the residential growth Grimes has experienced, it has also seen a significant increase in the amount of service-based businesses in town. With an increase in residents comes a needed increase in restaurants, medical professionals, hair salons and more.
“When we get the density of rooftops that apartments bring, we start to see more service businesses,” Buethe says. “We have another chiropractor coming to town. We’ve seen all the stuff that’s happened in the strip mall in the last year with Verizon, Cherry Berry, Taco Johns, a new hair place and Pizza Hut. We are also getting a new Mexican restaurant, and Food Depot expanded and opened a restaurant this year, and there is a new daycare under construction.”
One of those businesses new to Grimes is Clean Teeth Rock, a new dental practice that Amanda Jorgensen opened earlier this year.
She says the best part about being in Grimes is that everyone rallies around a new business.
“Everyone in the chamber bent over backwards to be so kind and offer advice and assistance,” she says. “In the few events I’ve been able to attend, I’ve been surprised how amazing the people in the community are about supporting a new business, and they are willing to pitch in and do anything you need them to do. Everyone takes such a personal stake in each new business that comes to town — they want to help you get off your feet and succeed.”
The city of Grimes has worked diligently to ensure that with this increased growth that Grimes continues to “grow smart.” In 2010, the city developed a comprehensive plan to address issues that face the town and to guide decisions regarding growth in the coming years. The Grimes Plan is designed to provide a comprehensive vision of the city’s future, based on taking actions that will improve the lives of residents and make the city uniquely attractive for potential growth.
Key parts of the plan include using land efficiently and making sure projects and buildings balance compactness and efficiency. For example, places like Valley Junction have an intimate human scale in contrast to newer highway oriented developments like the Target on Urbandale Drive. While these new developments provide valuable services, the large building scale, dominance of parking lots, traffic noise, distance between buildings, and lack of pedestrian access and public spaces create a far less satisfactory environment. Compact and efficient project and building design use land and resources effectively, preserves more open space, and can provide memorable settings and experiences.
City planners hope to replicate a feel more like that in the center of Grimes, where residential, retail and recreation are located closely together. Mixing compatible but different uses in a modern setting creates more interesting and efficient communities. Providing uses that are closer and linked to one another can also reduce the number of miles that people must travel by car to conduct their daily lives.
Other issues raised include ensuring: a diverse selection of housing options, walkability and community health through routine physical activity, and a diversification of transportation modes. As the city grows, attracting more businesses and residents, people can be assured that city leaders and planners are working hard to maintain the aspects that make Grimes most attractive while also providing for future growth and improvements.