A mid-sized suburban city in Polk County, Ankeny, Iowa, is the third largest city in the county, after Des Moines and West Des Moines. The 2000 census found it to have a population of more than 27,000, while estimates taken in 2005 showed that had grown to more than 36,000. The community encompasses an area of almost 17 square miles, all of it land, and the median annual household incomes for residents here is around $55,000.
The town was founded in 1874 by John Ankeny, its namesake, and incorporated on February 28, 1903. It began as a railroad town, as a link from Des Moines through Ankeny to Ames was built in 1874, with routes for passengers beginning in 1880. Several large companies have headquarters or large operations here, such as Deere & Company's Des Moines Works, Perishable Distributors of Iowa, a subsidiary of Hy-Vee, Tone's Spices and Mrs. Clark's Foods. The gas station/convenience store chain Casey's General Stores is headquartered here. For getting around town, the Ankeny Express stops within the city limits and operates with service into Des Moines.
Schools in the community are administered by the Ankeny Community School District, which is made up of eight elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. Ankeny Christian Academy is a private K-12 school that provides a religious alternative as well. Post-secondary schools include Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary and the main campus of Des Moines Area Community College, and two schools, Simpson College and Upper Iowa University, have remote classroom facilities here to offer select courses.
Ankeny has a number of cultural institutions and groups for a town of its size, with a community band, chorus, theater and arts center. Saylorville Lake is nearby, offering the opportunity to enjoy sports and relaxation in the water, and the Prairie Ridge Sports Complex offers a number of fields and area to play. There are two privately owned golf courses, Briarwood Golf Course and the Ankeny Golf and Country Club, and one publicly owned one, Otter Creek Golf Course. Heritage Park is the home to a 21-hole disc-golf course. Events celebrated in Ankeny include the annual Ankeny Summerfest, Santa’s North Pole Village, a craft show, the Ankeny Uptown Farmer’s Market, the DMACC Kite Festival, Ankeny Art in the Park, and summer series of outdoor concerts and musical performances and outdoor movie nights.