Merle Hay Road Redevelopment – Update

The center piece of the of north Merle Hay Road Redevelopment plan is the current site of City Hall and surrounding properties. One of the challenges of implementing a plan like this is the assembly of a critical mass of property to facilitate development. In the right circumstances it is appropriate for communities to purchase properties and aggregate them into parcels that can be resold to developers. This approach was used successfully by the City of Johnston on Merle Hay Road in recent years – leading to the development of the Cadence housing project.

Developers should take note that the City is approaching critical mass with the properties adjacent to the current City Hall. The City has acquired (or is in the process of acquiring) several properties on the northeast corner of NW 62nd Ave. & Merle Hay Road. Further progress was recently made when the City approved a purchase agreement for 6285 Merle Hay Road. Do you have a project that would be suitable for an important node in the Johnston community? For more information, contact Adam Plagge, Economic Development Manager for the City of Johnston.

Johnston High School Traffic Flow & Parking

Johnston High School

The start of the school year is near, and this means that traffic patterns along NW 100th Street near the new Johnston High School will be changing. It is the goal of the Johnston Community School District to make safety a priority during this transition. The district has provided a traffic flow map for students, parents, staff and visitors to the high school. This map provides entry and exit points as well as recommended parking options for those visiting the building. Please review the Traffic Flow and Parking Map for more details.

Submit Materials for the 2018 Development Guide

 Tour Book Cover

As part of the 2017 Economic Development Bus Tour, Johnston Economic Development Corporation will create a Development Guide to be used in 2018. This guide will be used as a tool throughout the year to promote development in the Johnston Community. The guide includes a variety of information about Johnston, current properties available in the community and information promoting businesses with an interest in development.

We invite you to submit an ad or flyer for the 2018 Development Guide. 

  • JEDCO Members who are brokers or developers and represent properties or Projects in Johnston may submit flyers for all properties located in Johnston free of charge. One page (front and back) for each property.
  • JEDCO Members who represent any other type of business may submit a one page ad (front & back) for no charge.
  • If you are a broker or developer who is not currently a JEDCO Member and would like to join in 2018, we will provide you with the opportunity to include one page (front and back) for each of your Johnston properties in our 2018 Development Guide free of charge.
  • If you are any other type of business interested in development in Johnston and would like to join in 2018, we will provide you with one page (front & back) free of charge in the 2018 Development Guide.
  • If you are not a JEDCO member and would like to place an ad in the Development Guide you can purchase one page (front & back) for $200.  
  • We recommend that ads (flyers) be 8.5″ x 11″ in size and include a 1/4 inch margin on the left side of the page to leave space for binding.

    Please send PDF flyers or ads to by Friday, September 8th.

Center of Influence Leadership Event


Thank you to Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR) for hosting a Center of Influence Event at Camp Dodge for leaders in the Johnston Community. It was a great opportunity for employers to learn more about how they can support reserve members and to take a look at the training facilities on Camp Dodge. To learn more about ESGR and their mission, click here.

Attention Business & Community Leaders!


Join JEDCO and the Johnston Chamber as we team up with Iowa Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve and the Iowa National Guard for a Center of Influence event at Camp Dodge. The event will take place on August 10 from 12:30-4:30 PM. A Center of Influence gives businesses and community leaders the opportunity to learn more about the Iowa National Guard mission as a State emergency asset and federal missions. Community leaders will gain an understanding of the training capabilities available on Camp Dodge. In addition participants will have the opportunity to experience military simulation training and tour state of the art training facilities located at Camp Dodge. To participate in this event you must be a leader of a Johnston Business or a Johnston Community Leader. This event is FREE and lunch will be provided.

The Agenda includes:

  • Flight in an Army National Guard Helicopter (subject to availability)
  • Simulation Training
  • Rollover Simulation
  • Weapons simulator
  • A look at the Medical Services Training Center
  • Tour of the Sustainment Training Center
Are you a business or community leader? Click here to complete and submit the fillable PDF form to register for this event. Space is limited!   

Brio of Johnston Groundbreaking


Join the Johnston Chamber for a groundbreaking event for Brio of Johnston – a Wesley Life Community. The new Senior Living Community will be located southwest of the intersection of NW 86th Street and NW 70th Ave.

Wednesday, July 12
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center
5291 Stoney Creek Ct.
Johnston, IA 50131
Click here to register

Amber Ridge Housing Zoning – Updated

Zoning Change Approved





The Johnston City Council held a public hearing on June 19, 2017 concerning a proposed amendment to the Amber Ridge PUD zoning ordinance. The change would allow for R-4 high density residential housing in the area. The proposal was previously declined by the Johnston Planning & Zoning Commission. Notwithstanding the expressed concerns of some neighboring residents, the Council seemed satisfied with the required density, parking availability, and likely storm water management requirements. A motion to approve the zoning change on first reading was passed with the restriction that the development be limited to two story townhomes.

The change would would preserve the property immediately adjacent to NW 62nd Ave. for both retail and office uses. Forty-two town homes are planned for the south portion of the property. View the June 19, 2017 staff report, and the original staff report for more information.

MHR Redevelopment Plan Advances







The Johnston City Council and Planning & Zoning Commission met in joint session on May 22, 2017 to consider the input received about the various concept plans for the area. See the previous article for more information about the alternative plans.

In summary, based on the input received the “Town Center” concept was the overwhelming favorite. Those who provided input in the planning process also expressed a desire that the future development include restaurants and public space for the farmers market and other activities, and a trail connection. Commercial retail uses were also desired. Support for maintaining City Hall as an “anchor” for development was also mentioned.

The population in the market area (3 mile radius) is estimated to be almost 40,000, or about 15,000 households – 75% of which are owner occupied. Consultants shared data which suggests that the location would be attractive to retailers and other commercial interests including: average household income = $105,000; and 50% with a college degree.

The next phases of the planning process will include the development of design guidelines, cost estimates for infrastructure, property acquisition, and the construction of public amenities. In the future there may be a request for proposals for developing the site. It was noted that the development phases could cover a period of up to 15 years.

It is not too late to provide input about the plan. Send comments to Adam Plagge, Johnston Economic Development Manager.


New Daycare Facility Proposed








A 7,000 square foot daycare facility has been proposed for the intersection of NW 100th Street and NW 62nd Ave. The location is just south of the Casey’s General Store. Site plans for the facility were considered and approved by the Johnston Planning & Zoning Commission at their meeting on May 30, 2017. The site plan will now be advanced to the Johnston City Council for consideration.