ADEL, Iowa -- If you drive around the square in Adel, it likely feels familiar.
“Peace and quiet and a lot of very, very wonderful people,” said Jennifer Orr, of Town and Country Barbershop.
At noon on a Tuesday, there is nowhere to park. After all, this is small town Iowa--well, maybe not so small anymore.
“I suppose it’s a good thing,” said Adel resident Leonard Warford, as he laughs about the growth in his hometown.
If you venture out of the square you’ll find one of the faster growing counties in the country.
“We get new people in here, if not every day, certainly several times a week. A lot of transplants from Des Moines and Waukee, but we're getting people from all over the country,” said Orr.
This is not just the local barber’s observation; Orr has some numbers to back it up. The latest census bureau data showed Dallas County as the 5th fastest growing county in the nation, but this is nothing new for the people who live there.
“Dallas County is very sought after and we are seeing a lot of activity now,” said Linda Wunsch, of the Greater Dallas County Development Alliance.
Over the last decade, Dallas County has seen quite the boom. We know about the big things--Jordan Creek Mall or the Waukee expansion--but what really excites the county from a growth standpoint is what is happening in cities like Adel. In 2009, Adel issued just three home building permits. Last year, they gave out over 125 of them, or $35 million worth of new home construction.
“Adel is really becoming the place to go in building a new home and they really have seen some great growth,” said Wunsch.
The reason behind the boom is tax abatement. Adel, like many towns in Dallas County, offers these to get new business and homes to move in. If you talk to people in Adel, they don’t understand why the county needed to offer the land tax-free, but officials with the county ask them to be patient.
“The city has viewed the program as an investment in our long-term growth and development," said Anthony Brown, Adel City Manager. “The abatement program is designed to improve economic conditions, increase housing opportunities, and enhance the general attractiveness of the city. New residents add vitality and ideas to the community, and new homes have drawn increased interest from commercial developers.”
“But with rooftops, comes more companies, and more companies mean a different type of tax base, so they really do balance themselves out over time,” said Wunsch.