DES MOINES, Iowa — Both economic development and residential construction continue to thrive in Waukee. In fact, the city saw its highest commercial growth in history in 2019.
Last year Waukee broke its own record of issuing over 1,200 building permits in 2019 alone. Director of Community and Economic Development said Waukee contributes their growth to being in the right place at the right time.
“I think we’re in the right location. We’re next to a lot of growing suburbs and so naturally that growth has been going west and north, and we’re just kind of at the right place at the right time,” Dutcher said.
The valuation of the building permits issued by Waukee in 2019 totals $209.8 million, topping Waukee’s previous record in 2016. Though most of those building permits went to housing developments, Dutcher says the real money for the city comes from commercial projects. Some new commercial projects include Fleet Farm, Lush Family Dental, and Sleep Inn.
The mayor of Waukee, Courtney Clarke, told the Adel newspaper that revenues from commercial property taxes allow the city to build new and maintain existing, infrastructure without increasing the city’s property tax levy.
“The growth certainly translates into more revenue for the city. So I think it allows us to keep our tax rate level low or maybe declining some, and provide a lot of amenities for people that live here,” Dutcher said.
Though commercial success brings more money to the community, Dutcher said businesses primarily come to Waukee because of the population growth. According to Waukee.org, the city gets six new residents per day. The goal is always to give residents the best living conditions.
“We do have competing goals we’re trying as best we can to keep Waukee kind of a small town, have a small-town feel even though we have all this growth,” Dutcher said.