Neighborhood development in northern Waukee focuses on putting a school and a park at the heart of the area.
If you’ve driven north of the Waukee Hy-Vee or near Point of Grace Church lately, you’ve probably noticed the increased construction in the area. Prairie Crossing, The Landing at Shadow Creek, Fox Creek Estates, Brookridge and other neighborhoods in that square mile north of Hickman Road are being developed as part of the first major residential move for Waukee north of Hickman.
Major growth within this area began in 2005 with the Gracewood Development. When all is finished, it’s projected that 650 single-family homes, 300 townhomes and 1,000 multi-family units will be built.
A new elementary school will be located at the very heart of this area. Construction is already in progress on Grant Ragan Elementary, and it is slated to open in fall 2016. Waukee School District Superintendent Dr. David Wilkerson said there is a huge need for this school, which will have a capacity of 750 students.
“We’re very excited about the opening of Grant Ragan for the 2016-17 school year. It will ease crowding situations at several of our other elementary attendance centers,” said Wilkerson. “Additionally, as the area it serves continues to develop, we see Grant Ragan as a unifying force for the neighborhood creating a sense of community and unity in that area of the city and district.”
An 18-acre community park is planned to go in at the core of these neighborhoods as well, and that’s not all.
“An integrated trail system will tie all of these individual neighborhoods and developments together,” said City of Waukee Development Services Director Brad Deets. “It will connect all of the developments to the centralized park and school, and it will provide connections to the Raccoon River Valley Trail and eventually the Clive Greenbelt Trail.”
The area is already filling in with people excited about the future. Julie Boulden moved into a brand new house with husband Ben and son William in January. She says the development around her happened faster than she expected, and she’s looking forward to seeing the continued progress.
“Everyone around us is really friendly,” Boulden said. “There are so many kids living nearby. It’s going to be great having them grow up next door to each other. There’s a real sense of neighborhood comradery already.”
Boulden said her family chose Waukee in part due to the great school district. She says the addition of Grant Ragan and the new park in the area are huge pluses. She is also enjoying the convenience of her new location.
“I think we have everything we need here,” she said. “We have parks, schools, grocery stores, restaurants and so on. The only thing I’m missing is better Interstate access, but I know that will happen soon with Grand Prairie Parkway.”
Grand Prairie Parkway is expected to open in late fall 2015 which will give Waukee residents a direct path to Interstate 80.
More than 100 acres of commercial development are also planned for northern Waukee. Commercial and residential development is expected to be wrapped up in that area by 2020.