Dramatic Transformation Planned in Johnston

Johnston’s Merle Hay Road Gateway Area is on its way to becoming unlike any other area in the Des Moines metro.  The Johnston City Council has voted to approve a redevelopment plan that will set the stage for a dramatic transformation to the front door of the City.

Kayak to your favorite restaurant. Pop in to a new hotel with an ecological theme. Make your home in a luxury rental property with access to natural amenities and trails. Spend time at a destination community park with unique elements that could include a skate park, BMX track, dog park and trailhead. These are all part of the vision for the Merle Hay Road Gateway Area.

The Gateway Area is 123 acres total and is defined as generally south of NW 55th Avenue along both sides of Merle Hay Road to Interstate 35/80. As one of only two gateways into the City from Interstate 35/80, this area is a recognizable and critical area of the City.

The master plan sees an opportunity to expand recreation and tourism with the addition of more canoe/kayak launches along Beaver Creek to provide more opportunities to get on the water. A planned outdoor recreation retailer could even use portions of the creek to test equipment and provide training and educational opportunities for those interested in water sports on the creek or nearby Saylorville Lake.

It will be a development that is truly a destination, either as a specialized retail destination, new hotel and conference center or a corporate office headquarters that would serve as a catalyst for transformation.

Johnston has the second highest median household income of metro cities at $89,543, exceeded only by Clive. During the recession, Johnston’s median home values actually grew from $239,000 to $242,000. These are just two of the many reasons a new, vibrant development along Merle Hay Road will be sustainable for the long term.

The implementation plan recognizes the need for the City of Johnston to utilize financial incentives to begin and sustain improvements in the District, while specific incentives will be considered on a development by development basis, they could include a tax increment financing (TIF), tax abatement, a revolving loan fund, special service districts and other economic incentives.

For more information, please contact Emily Price, City of Johnston Communications.

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