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On the Move

Posted September 12, 2012 in Clive

The winter, spring and summer of 2012 happened in a flash. If you blinked, you may have missed all the exciting growth that happened around the city during the past nine months. There is much to be excited about in the city of Clive.

Les Aasheim pays a visit to Aasheim Plaza, named in his honor. He served as Clive’s mayor from 2001-2009 and on the City Council from 1986-1997.

Scott Cirksena is nearing the end of his first term as Clive mayor. He is proud that Clive has been able to rebound from an economic downfall and move forward. New business is coming to the area, new houses are being built and project phases continue to be checked off the 86th Street Redevelopment list. The Art on the Trail is proving to be a great showcase, and even a survey of Clive citizens suggests that the quality of life in this city is on the up and up.

While Cirksena is mayor, he hopes to continue to find new and innovative ways to provide high-quality services to residents and promote the city’s world-class parks and trail system, a healthy lifestyle, well-planned housing developments and an 86th Street corridor that is an attractive destination.

In April, the City of Clive contracted with National Research Center Inc. to perform a citizen satisfaction survey of Clive residents. Clive planned to use the results for community planning, program improvement and policy making. The five-page survey was administered by mail to 2,100 random households. A total of 667 were compiled and compared to a national database of 500 other cities.

Clive Mayor Scott Cirksena says the city has seen increased interest in new home construction since last year.

The survey results showed that 94 percent of Clive residents rated their quality of life as excellent or good. Residents indicated a strong trust for the city of Clive government and feel they receive good value for their city tax dollar. More than 90 percent of Clive residents would recommend living in Clive to someone else, which is certainly a great thing for any city.

“The city has seen a significant interest in new home construction during the past year. At one point, we were nearly out of lots but fortunately several new subdivisions have been developed this summer to replenish the number of lots available. New home construction in 2012 will likely be near 100 units,” Cirksena says.

While new business has been sporadic across central Iowa in 2012, the city of Clive has tried to emphasize business retention as a priority. Cirksena has held meetings dubbed “Business Conversations” with business owners in Clive, and he is happy to report that the visits have been very positive.

“I’ve heard owners expressing optimism and telling me that they are doing well. Our city is in the midst of formalizing five key economic development strategies working with stakeholders at the University level and with the Clive Chamber of Commerce to attract, cultivate and retain businesses. These strategies include, but are not limited to, the review and creation of more creative economic incentive packages and a formalized strategy to market Clive’s distinctive strengths,” he explains.

The strategic plan for 2012 – 2017 is being finalized this month. This and the public facility planning have proven to be substantial endeavors that Cirksena is proud to have been a part of this past year.

“We determine the facility needs for a full build-out population. This will have an impact on the placement of our public safety, community development, parks and recreation, parks maintenance and city hall staff within the community. The comprehensive plan is also being updated, and this is significant because these plans will be the roadmap for the city as we grow to our capacity in 15-20 years.”

In 2013, the city is planning improvements to the Greenbelt Trail and streetscape enhancements on the South end of the N.W. 86th Street corridor. This will include decorative enhancements to the Walnut Creek Bridge and trail access enhancements at the N.W. 86th Street bridge. Cirksena is also excited about the project involving the Greenbelt Trail connectivity, which will be improved with a bridge connection from the Aquatic Center to the trail on the north side of Walnut Creek. There will be a new link to Waukee at Lions Park this fall, and a recent connection with Urbandale at 156th Street was just completed.

“As we work to accentuate a unique Clive neighborhood identity, we will be launching a new signage program for our major and minor gateway street areas and for our parks network,” he says.

Kelly Canfield works as Clive’s Director of Parks and Recreation to maintain and improve Clive’s trails and 15 parks, as well as the aquatic center. At a recent city council meeting, approval was given for improvements that residents can look forward to seeing in the months ahead.

“The aquatic center has been in operation for 10 seasons now, and our attendance numbers have gone just over 600,000,” Canfield says. “The improvement that the patrons will notice most will be the addition of a splash pad,” a nearly 2,000-square-foot play area that Canfield says will feature fountains and nozzles and allow small children to play in the water without actually being in standing water.

“The work begins this fall and is slated to be completed before the pool opens next season. We are also working on improvements that will focus on safety and changes needed to meet new ADA requirements,” Canfield added.

“We are also starting work on improvements at Campbell Park. The ball fields at Campbell Recreation Area have been in operation for 20 seasons with over 22,000 league games played during that time. The facility has also hosted a large number of tournaments and pick-up games including the Senior Softball World Series,” Canfield says. “This year marks four years of co-hosting the big event.”

Improvements will include new scoreboards, replacement of the irrigation systems, outfield fences and backstops along with additional sidewalks to better accommodate spectator access and some other minor fixes and repairs. The work will begin this fall and be completed before the leagues open in late April of 2013.

Some exciting changes are coming to Westview Bend Park. City staff and neighbors will work together to replace the 25-year-old play equipment, and a portion of the sidewalk retaining walls and update the landscaping features of the small neighborhood park.

The Greenbelt Trail is getting a makeover as well between 149th Street and 156th Street. Canfield explained that this area of the trail will be removed and repaved with asphalt. This marks the beginning of an ongoing trail replacement program. The first section should be finished this fall.

Alice’s Road Greenbelt Trail and bridge were completed with the assistance of grant funds from the Iowa Department of Transportation State Recreational Trails Fund. There was also an addition of the Greenbelt land west of Alice’s Road. With the assistance of REAP grant funds, the city purchased 53 acres along Little Walnut Creek. There is still land that the city owns and is in the process of developing plans for amenities down the road. One piece is 20 acres along the west side of Alice’s Road just north of Little Walnut Creek.  Plans will be developed in the coming years for amenities for this new park.

It is Dennis Henderson’s job to oversee of all the city departments, finances and budget, project development and implementation.

Clive City Manager Dennis Henderson says 2012 was a planning year, and 2013 will focus on implementation of those plans.

It has been a busy spring and summer with new residential family homes being constructed. Although the city does not have the new home construction numbers that it did in the 90s, an upswing can be seen recently.

“This has largely been a planning year, and 2013 will be when we begin implementation of those plans,” Henderson says. “Our growth in 2012 has primarily been in residential single family homes. From January through July, 45 homes have been or are under construction, which will likely lead to 100 – 125 homes constructed in calendar 2012. There have been 20 commercial remodels or additions and one new commercial project, which is a bank,” Henderson says. “We anticipate growing by about another 6,000 to 8,000 people before the open areas have been all developed.”

The street once named Clive Road has been under construction for some time now. This historic street served as the center of Clive for many years and was a link to the Greater Des Moines metro area through the depot at Swanson and 86th. The N.W 86th Street Redevelopment Project began as a way to reawaken a corridor for the city. Since Clive does not have a downtown or main street area per se, the 86th Street project was started as a way to foster a greater sense of community for residents and businesses.

The goals have been: to improve traffic flow and accessibility; to consolidate and focus the commercial land use within the corridor; to enhance the interaction of the activities and businesses on the corridor with the Greenbelt Park; and to create a unique place through the use of distinctive urban design elements and features.

“86th Street continues to see improvements. This construction season we completed full depth patching of areas that were in poor condition and the bridge deck is currently being redone. Next year we plan to complete phase III of the streetscape, which will be on the south end of our portion of N.W. 86th Street. The final work will be to overlay the street with an asphalt overlay,” says Henderson.

Another notable accomplishment in 2012 has been the Art Along the Trail program, implemented by the Public Arts Advisory Commission (PAAC) in conjunction with city staff and elected officials. On May 22, the city conducted the formal dedication of the program at Campbell Park. The ceremony was held next to the site of “The Catch” by Anna Modeland, which is one of the six pieces of art to be exhibited along the Greenbelt Trail.

“This has been our first year for the art along the trail project, and it has generated a lot of interest. Clive has been able to be very involved with public art projects with a very small amount of local funding,” says Henderson.

For the 2012 program, the city received 26 applications from 13 artists. The six art pieces that were selected will be on display into the fall. This will be an annual exhibit where Iowa artists will have their work displayed for the community’s enjoyment. The PAAC will evaluate the two pieces receiving the highest votes and recommend one of the pieces to the Clive City Council for purchase into the city’s permanent public art collection.

“I am excited to see this program evolve over time, as collectively we work to promote the appearance of our community and enhance the artistic vitality of Clive,” Cirksena says.

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