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All about Ankeny, IA
Ankeny is a city in Polk County, Iowa, United States and a suburb of the state capital of Des Moines, as part of the Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA metropolitan statistical area. As of the 2020 census, the population of Ankeny was 67,887, making it the seventh largest city in the state. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in Iowa. Currently, the city’s incorporated area totals 29.14 square miles.
In 2008, Ankeny was recognized as one of the top ten towns for families by Family Circle. In 2009, Ankeny was ranked No. 62 in MONEY Magazine’s top 100 places to live list.
History of Ankeny, IA
Ankeny was founded as an agrarian community on April 22, 1875, by John Fletcher Ankeny and Sarah “Sally” Ankeny (née Wolgamot) on eighty acres purchased on July 11, 1874, for US$1,600. The town, a single square mile, was formally incorporated on February 28, 1903.
In 1881, the town of Ankeny consisted of seven houses, a Methodist Church, a depot, a combination store/post office, livery stable, a blacksmith shop, rooming house, machine shop, and a school. There was no delivery of mail in the area at this time, and newspapers arrived in town on the train every Friday.— Ankeny Historical Society
The railroad was eventually laid from Des Moines to Ames, via Ankeny. This rail was completed in 1874 and passenger service established on July 11, 1880, for 33 cents. In the 19th century, the city’s industry was primarily agriculture — specifically sorghum and swine production. The former was processed at a nearby mill, while the latter were driven to the market at Keokuk, Iowa.
In 2003, changes in Iowa state law allowed Iowa State University to sell off its research plot near Ankeny, which it did to the city in June 2005 for $23.6 million. The year prior, in 2004, the city government requested proposals for a new district called Prairie Trail to be created on the plot. Later in September 2005, the city sold the land to Dennis Albaugh, whose company submitted the chosen proposal, for the same price. The city agreed to invest up to $20 million in basic infrastructure for the district, which Albaugh’s company agreed to match and enter into a Civic Trust Fund to be used for public facilities.
In May 2017, an $8.5 million bond referendum was successfully held to create a new, modern library. The project, having an overall budget of $25 million, broke ground on July 1, 2018. The old Kirkendall Public Library had been used since 1996 and had 26,000 square feet (2,400 m2) while the new library has 55,000 square feet (5,100 m2) of space. The new Kirkendall Public Library opened in February 2020.
Geography and Demographics of Ankeny, IA
Ankeny is located in north-central Polk County. It is bordered on the east by Interstate 35, with U.S. Route 69 running through the center of the town. Most of the area of Ankeny is dry land with a small number of park ponds and streams. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.33 square miles (75.96 km2), all land. The City itself states that 29.14 square miles (75.5 km2) of that land is incorporated.
Like most of Polk County, Ankeny exists at the bottom area of the Des Moines Lobe, a topographical landscape area, in an area known as the Bemis Advance. The Lobe was formed during the Wisconsin glaciation leaving significant deposits resulting in an area with low relief.
The upper sediments Ankeny sits upon are primarily a variable mixture of silt, sand, gravel, and loam types less than 8 meters in depth. The water table is seasonally elevated. The bedrock the city sits on is part of the Cherokee Group and composed of primarily grey shale and sandstone, with secondary black shale, coal, and mudstone.
Since the city’s first census results in 1910 of 445 inhabitants, Ankeny’s population has grown to an estimated 67,887 people in 2020, an increase of 48% from the 45,562 of the 2010 census, which itself was a 68.1% increase from 2000.
Ankeny has been noted multiple times in recent years by the Census Bureau for rapid population growth, being listed as the fourth fastest growing city July 2016 – 2017 with a growth rate of 6.4% and the tenth fastest growing July 2017 – 2018 with a growth rate of 4.6%. To keep pace with growing population numbers, the city has requested a special census every decade since the 1970s in 1975, 1985, 1994, 2005, and 2014.
High growth rates have led to nearly 80% of Ankeny residents surveyed in 2018 to agree the city’s population growth was “somewhat too fast” or “much too fast”. The growth has also led to infrastructure strain and challenges.
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