"Family Circle" magazine has ranked Ankeny as one of the "top ten best towns for families" in the United States. Ankeny city manager Carl Metzger says the city’s planners have done a great job designing kid-friendly neighborhoods.
"What we want to do is make it easy for someone this time of year, for example, if you have children and they’re of an age where you would say, ‘Hop on your bikes and ride to the acquatic center,’ that you’d feel safe letting them do that," Metzger says, "knowing that they can get there and if they cross a street there’s a pedestrian crossing and a street — things like that."
The magazine evaluated schools, public safety, environmental record and recreational opportunities. "If you look at where the skate park is it’s right next to the acquatic center which is right next to the library which is across the street from a nature park," Metzger says, "so depending on your interests you could go out and watch the butterflies and look at some natural plants then go across the street, pick up a book and read more about what you just saw in our park."
Metzger hopes the magazine’s ranking will convince more families — and businesses — to move to Ankeny. The goal, he says, is to ensure Ankeny retains its small-town feel even as its population grows. "We’ve heard from a lot of people over the years who’ve moved into Ankeny…that it felt like their home town," Metzger says, "They came from a smaller community and that’s why they chose Ankeny over some of the other metropolitan communities."
Metzger says people connect with their neighborhood and their neighborhoods. According to Metzger, there over 30 block parties in Ankeny every year. "You can still avail yourselves of the services and the shopping that a larger community is able to attract, but you can also step back from that and be able to enjoy just a slower pace and do it on your own terms," Metzger says.
The 2000 Census found about 27,000 people living in Ankeny. By 2005, a special census determined the population of the Des Moines suburb had grown to 36,000. Ankeny is the third-largest city in Polk County. Des Moines and West Des Moines are larger.