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Iowa Community Benefits from Guidance of Comprehensive Park Plan

Located just a short drive west of Waukee along Highway 6, the City of Adel is an idyllic Iowa town that has maintained its “small town” status all while offering easy access to “big city” amenities. To better address the recreational needs of their steadily growing population, city leaders enlisted the planning services of Snyder & Associates to create a comprehensive park and open space plan to guide all future park system improvements and acquisitions. The plan also identifies goals and recommendations for the future development of parks and trails within the City of Adel.

Public survey matrix graphic

Key takeaways from a public input survey are shown in matrix format.

The city currently has approximately 285 acres of land designated for parks, general open spaces, and community use. Adel has a series of community and special-use style parks, which meet a variety of community recreational needs. However, not all park acres serve area residents in the same capacity. The parks vary in size and amenities and the existing park’s total acreages fall into two key categories, developed and undeveloped, further highlighting the need for a comprehensive plan.

Building upon the previous Land Use Plan Update adopted in 2015, the Adel Comprehensive Parks and Open Space Plan developed by our team is the result of ongoing dedication and collaboration among residents and other stakeholders. It was shaped by those who have served the Adel community on the Park’s Board, City Staff, and the public who attended meetings and participated in the public survey.

Detailed Goals of the Comprehensive Parks & Open Space Plan

The first step in the planning process was to set goals to serve as a basis for future park planning. While general, the goals directly relate to the objectives and conditions that set the standard for future improvements and growth. Based on these objectives and situations, a set of seven goals were established for the city’s park system. These include establishing a comprehensive plan to guide the acquisition and development of park and recreation facilities to identifying potential park locations in underserved areas.

Another part of the planning process included a review of the city’s current dedication ordinance requirements. As the city continues to grow, additional parkland will need to be set aside and developed to accommodate the growing population. In a review of some of the existing park sites set aside for neighborhood park development, it is recommended the park site dedication requirements described in the City Code be updated. Consideration should be given to modifying the requirements to provide expanded direction and better guidance on the community’s expectations of parks. This extensive process established seven independent policy review and consideration steps that should be followed.

Implementation Process & Funding Sources Help City Enact Improvements

In our CIP podcast, find out how our staff navigates the funding process which includes budgeting and identifying financial resources.

From the outset of the planning process, Adel city leaders showed a commitment to building and maintaining a park system that coincides with its goals of being a community where residents have a high quality of life. To reinforce this, community leaders and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission members recognized the importance of outlining an organized strategy for funding to implement this plan. The goals established in the plan are long-term goals and are not anticipated to be completed within the next 5 to 10 years. The plan’s intent, however, is to guide future development and community growth and identify needs within the existing park sites.

While some recommendations can be implemented through the annual budget process and Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), additional funding sources will most likely be necessary to fulfill all the park, trail, and bikeway needs. Funding assistance for improvements is available from various sources, and the plan provides a resource for seeking funding through grants and private donations.

This comprehensive plan was an important initial step in developing a bold vision for the City of Adel’s park system. A vision that will have a lasting impact on the local community as it grows. The successful implementation will require continued support from the city and the public. The ideas put in place should continue to be interpreted and developed further as the community continues to grow and implement various phases of the plan.