State of the City

City of Indianola_State of the City

Indianola’s 2021 State of the City Address

In the annual State of the City address, the Mayor of Indianola discusses the past, present and future of our community. Read the full address or click below to watch. 

Watch the "State of the City" Here.

Hi, everyone! I’m Pam Pepper, Mayor of Indianola. Today, I’d like to tell you about what’s happening in our wonderful city, in 2021.

We’ll start with some background information about Indianola. Then, we’ll go over our major achievements of 2020. Finally, we’ll wrap up by revealing some exciting news about the future of our community.

Whether you’re a resident, developer, contractor, local business owner, or someone who just wants to learn more about our town, I’m so excited that you’re here. And I can’t wait to tell you about the community of Indianola!

Let’s start with the basics.

Indianola is a suburb of the Des Moines Metro with a population of more than 16,000. We’re close to the airport and just a short drive from the heart of downtown Des Moines. Our residents enjoy a high quality of life, with great schools and beautiful parks. And visitors love exploring our city’s many attractions, like the Des Moines Metro Opera and the National Balloon Classic, as well as our nature trails and outstanding public library.

Indianola is a financially strong community, with leadership that’s responsible with taxpayer dollars. We have a great credit score; the Government Finance Officers Association has recognized our community for responsible budgeting; and, compared with our peers, we have one of the lowest tax rates in the state.

Here in Indianola, we are taking necessary steps to ensure the integrity of our infrastructure, with some exciting improvements in the works. One example is our new, state-of-the-art sewer plant. This plant is designed to meet the State’s new and stricter guidelines for sewer plants. Once completed, the plant will be one of only a handful like it in the state. Rather than waiting, we’re being proactive and investing in this important infrastructure now. Being proactive is an important part of who we are.

Another exciting project is Streetscape— a series of infrastructure improvements that will transform our downtown square into a more inviting, pedestrian-friendly space where businesses thrive, and residents and visitors are excited to spend their time. Thank you to the many community members who helped create this award-winning design, which we plan to break ground on in the Spring.

For me, one of the most amazing parts of living in Indianola is watching how our community grows and transforms over time, while maintaining the characteristics that make us unique. With all the families and businesses moving to Indianola, developers have invested in permits valued at nearly $200 million over the last five years. And, in terms of economic development, last year was one for the record books both in permits and new homes.  

Now that you’ve gotten to know our community, let’s take a look back at some of our achievements in 2020. 

As we all know, 2020 was a very challenging year. And one of our City’s biggest accomplishments was navigating COVID-19. I’m pleased to tell you that the City of Indianola responded to the pandemic without any layoffs or disruption to any public services. While our facilities had to close, our team adapted to ensure that books and games could still be checked out from the public library, while programs were offered virtually instead of in-person.

In addition to navigating a uniquely challenging year, our community had a number of other successes:

  • We broke ground on a state-of-the-art water treatment plant, one of only a few in the state to meet the Iowa Nutrient-Reduction Strategy.
  • We completed the planning process for Streetscape and secured $1.7 million in grant funding.
  • We continued to build our vision for Indianola with our award-winning Comprehensive Plan, a long-range policy guide for the development of our community. This plan includes several key recommendations which we have already begun implementing.
  • And finally, in 2020, we completed a pair of multi-year studies of Indianola’s roads and storm-sewer systems. With these studies, we can continue to invest wisely in vital infrastructure with data-driven decisions.

2020 was a challenging year. But it was a challenge our community and the City organization faced head-on, together. As a result, we are primed and ready for the future.

Speaking of the future, let’s talk about what’s coming up in 2021. 

This year is all about building on our momentum:

  • First, we’re continuing to work on the projects I mentioned, including our new waste-water plant and our exciting Downtown Streetscape project, which we plan to break ground on this year.
  • We’re also evaluating and developing plans to address our growing city’s needs. This includes creating conceptual plans for a new public-safety center, as well as a facility that will house our City Hall and library.
  • In addition, we are entering the design phase for 3 major road projects. These investments will have a positive economic impact on our community and improve our residents’ quality of life.
  • As our community grows, we are continuing to modernize local policies—including development codes and rental-housing regulations. These changes will lay the foundation for future growth while preserving and protecting our Community’s character.

By planning ahead for these critical investments, we ensure that our community can maintain a high quality-of-life for our residents and a strong economy for our businesses—now, and in the future.

I’d like to wrap-up this year’s address by thanking you for being a part of the Indianola community. 

I’d especially like to thank Indianola residents and members of our business community for working with us as we navigated a challenging year, as well as the developers and contractors who have invested—and are looking to invest—in our community.

Here in Indianola, we know that our community is special—there’s nowhere else quite like it. And we welcome you to join us as we continue building our vision for tomorrow.

Thank you so much for reading!