On Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, the Johnston City Council approved a development agreement for the Bombers Golf development and the site plan for Ignit Sports and Fitness. Both projects are located within the Merle Hay Road Gateway District. Over the last decade, city leaders have carefully crafted and invested in a vision for revitalizing the 123-acres north of I-80/35, known as the Gateway District. This vision will soon become a reality with Bombers Golf development, which includes an 80+ room hotel and attached 60 bay golf entertainment facility.
“This is certainly an exciting time within our community,” said Mayor Paula Dierenfeld. “Residents have been asking for entertainment options and we want them to know we are listening. This project has been a decade in the making, but once complete, it will bring in visitors from across our state. The entire Gateway District north to the Johnston Town Center, which I call the magical mile, will soon be a destination with many amenities to enjoy.”
The Bombers Golf development utilizes industry-leading technology and facility management by Troon. “The golf development is certainly one of a kind in our state and I’m excited they chose to grow their business in Johnston,” said Dierenfeld. Visitors will also soon enjoy a third kayak launch, which is expected to begin in the summer of 2023. This will allow water enthusiasts to enjoy a two to four-hour float down Beaver Creek and enjoy entertainment at Bombers Golf.
The district's west side will house Ignit, a large indoor/outdoor sports fitness facility. While grading has already begun, the building construction will begin to take shape this spring and summer. Ignit will be a 200,000 sq. ft. facility, which is expected to attract 400,000+ annual visitors, including more than 100,000+ out of state visitors. The facility includes a large indoor track, full-size indoor soccer field, meeting spaces, fitness areas, multi-purpose courts and outdoor recreation space. “During our recent community survey, residents expressed the need for youth and adult recreational opportunities, and this facility will offer both of those,” said Dierenfeld. The development will also offer a plaza that is expected to contain an 18,000 sq. ft. multi-tenant commercial building with a large outdoor viewing area for sports and other events alongside additional commercial development being considered by adjacent property owners.
The magical mile will also be the home to Johnston’s first dog park. It will be located south of Ray Schleihs Park and construction will begin once the residential project is complete. The area for large dogs will be 0.64-acres and for small dogs 0.38 acres. Road and trail improvements are being made to improve traffic flow to and from the area. This fall, the Trestle to Trestle Trail Bridge is expected to be complete, which will provide much-needed connectivity to Des Moines. The bridge collapsed three years ago during an ice jam.
Up the road to the north, LifeServe has acquired six+ acres. Additional information is expected to be available in the future regarding this development.
To the east, DSM Property Services intends to build a 20,000 square foot headquarters along Johnston Drive, directly west of the bike path. They’re seeking a brewery or restaurant for a second standalone building to attract bicyclists, kayakers, and tournament teams playing at the Ignit complex.
“Johnston is excited for each of these developments to take shape. We have said before if we build it, they will come. Our council and staff are very strategic with development to ensure we are bringing growth that fits well with our Thrive 2040 plan,” said Dierenfeld.