For the city of Clive, it's all about that vision thing, if that means looking to the past to imagine the future.


Right now, that vision is for a new town center, with an estimated $18 million government center anchoring the private development of apartment buildings, a health and wellness center, all linked to the city's system of nature trails.


Mayor Scott Cirksena said city leaders are focused on nurturing the mind, body and spirit, and for good reason.


Resident surveys have found that Clive residents identify the city's parks and trails system that emanate from Walnut Creek. Hence, the city's motto, "distinct by nature," which was developed in 2008 when several million dollars was spent to improve infrastructure along 86th Street, the city's original main drag, and University Boulevard, install public art and create small parks. Click here for a related story at 


It was an ambitious plan that is awaiting a buy-in from private businesses to make improvements to further enhance that area.


But with the city gradually closing in on the time when it will exhaust available development ground and the capping of its population, Clive officials have spent a little more than a year contemplating what they can do next.


What's up next is the Clive Town Center, with the concept on display during an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Clive Aquatics Center Special Events Building, 1801 N.W. 114th St.


The idea is to fill out roughly 10 acres of city-owned property stretching along the east side of 114th from University Avenue north to Hickman Road.


The city's aquatics center plays a key role in that development, as does the Mercy Medical Center complex at the south end of the property.


Practical needs also drive the plan, including the need for more space at City Hall. The proposed town center development is located across 114th from the current City Hall and library. It is a cramped space. The library needs room for expansion, which it will get once a new government center and police headquarters is built at the town center.


But city officials envision more than a new seat of government. The project would provide space for multistory apartment buildings. The city has identified a need for about 550 multifamily units, and up to 300 are planned for the first phase of the town center development. The plan also includes some commercial build-out. Over time, the city will begin a process to winnow out a preferred private developer for the residential and commercial components.


This visioning thing begins with the realization that over the next 15 years, the city will max out its population at about 23,500 from the current 16,200. The city is essentially landlocked, with about 800 acres left for development, primarily in annexed land near Alice's Road.


"You can see what the end of the rainbow looks like," said Assistant City Manager Matthew McQuillen.


None of the development will happen overnight. The 86th Street improvements could take another 20 years to complete, by City Manager Dennis Henderson's reckoning.


Expect the town center project to take at least that long. At present, the city concepts for the town center are being assisted by Dennis Reynolds of Reynolds Urban Design and Shive-Hattery Inc.


After the open house, the city will collect comments and observations from those who attend to present to the City Council, possibly by Jan. 30. Click here for more information at the city of Clive website.