After a distinguished 25 years of serving as Johnston’s City Administrator, Jim Sanders will retire on Tuesday, Oct. 18. Jim was recognized on Monday, Oct. 17, by city leaders, family and friends for his dedicated service to the Johnston community.
“It has been an honor serving this community for the past 25 years,” said Sanders. “Johnston is a place that allowed me to grow in my professional career and work with exceptional elected leaders, employees and residents. I am proud of the growth and development that has made our community what it is today. I truly enjoyed working with our residents, business leaders and elected officials to ensure decisions were made in our community's best interest. Johnston has always made sound financial decisions and I am proud to have been a part of maintaining an AA+ credit rating for 13 consecutive years. I am most proud of building a staff of dedicated professionals that serve our community well.”
Sanders led Johnston through some challenging times with a housing boom in the early 2000s, a recession in 2008/2009 and responded to a global pandemic in 2020, while remaining fiscally sound and maintaining quality services. Since he began employment in 1997, the city population has grown from around 6,000 to over 24,000 residents.
Sanders has been involved in many accomplishments during his tenure. A few include:
- Coordinating the Urban bow hunt program, since 1998
- Joining the Wastewater Reclamation Authority, 2004
- Transitioning Polk County Fire District No.1 to a city fire department, 2005
- NW Beaver Drive sanitary sewer project, 2006
- Consolidating solid waste service, 2006
- Merle Hay Road Redevelopment plan was created, 2007
- Full time staffing was added to the fire department, 2008
- The bond rating was upgraded to AA+ and has since been maintained, 2009
- Merle Hay Gateway Redevelopment Plan was complete, 2013
- Construction of the third water tower was complete, 2013
- Completion of Fire Station #38 (NW 62nd Avenue), 2013
- Completion of Public Safety Building, 2014
- Johnston and Grimes Metropolitan Fire Department merged, 2016
- Terra Park was completed with a playground, 2018
- The City of Johnston celebrated 50 years, 2019
- Groundbreaking for the Johnston Town Center, 2019
- Completion of the east of Merle Hay Road, south of 62nd Avenue public improvements, 2019
- The NW Beaver Drive recreation trail extension, 2019
- The recreational trail along Pioneer Parkway opened, 2020
- The new City Hall building opened for business, 2020
- Two water trail access points, NW 70th Avenue (2019) and Lew Clarkson Park opened, 2021
- Grand Opening of Johnston Town Center, 2021
- Reconstruction of the Trestle Bridge over Beaver Creek, 2022
Sanders looks forward to watching the Gateway District and the Johnston Town Center develop from a distance. These two areas have been a decade or more in the development process, but is something the Johnston community can be proud of once they are fully developed.
“Jim Sanders is certainly a leader we will all miss,” said Mayor Paula Dierenfeld. “He helped guide our city through many complex issues and development projects, while ensuring residents maintained a strong quality of life during his tenure. As he steps away, I am confident our community will continue progressing forward because of the strong position he leaves the city in. I thank Jim for his leadership while ensuring our community is a place people want to live, work and play. His guidance on important issues will certainly be missed, but Jim's positive impacts on our community will live forever.”
Jim Sanders looks forward to retirement, where he can enjoy more time with his wife and children. “I enjoy cycling and walking, so I am excited to explore new areas, while staying close to home as my children finish high school. I look forward to continuing to give back to the community through my volunteer activities,” said Sanders.