Waukee

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Summary

Waukee is booming! This suburb located on the western edge of the Des Moines Metro in Dallas County, has tripled in size this century! Waukee’s growth is guided by a master plan that incorporates affordable housing and excellent schools with a neighborhood trail system, ever expanding retail and restaurant options, and lots of community events. Waukee has received recognition as one of the best places to live in America, and one of the best towns for families. This exceptional quality of life helps to attract a skilled workforce to work primarily in finance/insurance, healthcare, education, retail and professional services industries, and Waukee is “a ready-to-work community that is open to opportunity.”

Transportation

Waukee has over 23 miles of pedestrian and bike trails connecting various destinations, with many more planned in coming years. In fact, 96% of households are within a 5-minute walk of a paved or nature trail! The city does have limited bus service provided by DART (Des Moines Area Rapid Transit) and most errands still require a car. The average one-way commute for Waukee residents is 21 minutes, well under the 26.4 national average.

Activity & Entertainment

Situated on the prairies west of the Des Moines River valley, Waukee has wide open spaces and is working hard to practice and promote sustainability including plantings of native plants, a bioretention basin in the new Fox Creek Park, and an incentive program to encourage businesses and homeowners to install solar panels. The community is served by the Waukee Community School District.

History

Waukee started out as a railroad stop built by General Lewis Addison Grant and Major William Ragan in 1869. The origins of the name ‘Waukee’ are obscure, but it may be short for Milwaukee. Wherever the name came from, by the time the town was incorporated in 1878, there were shops, lumber yards, and a post office. In 1921, the Shuler Coal Company opened a mine northeast of Hickman Road that employed hundreds of men. A mining camp developed drawing immigrants from Italy, Croatia, and Sweden, along with the businesses that served them. The Shuler company built small homes in the ‘North Camp’ and ‘South Camp’ which were located along what is now Alice’s Road and had no electricity or running water. The last mine closed in 1949. Today, city leaders are implementing a well-conceived plan to make Waukee a great place to live for generations to come.


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