Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Annual Meeting to Be Held Jan. 27, 2014 at Crown Point Center

The annual meeting of Green Meadows West Homeowners Association members is scheduled for 7 p.m., Mon., Jan. 27, 2014, at the Crown Point Community Center, 6300 Pioneer Parkway, Johnston.

The association's officers and board of directors will present reports regarding 2013 activities, a 2014 budget, and other topics.

Members must be in good standing, with all fees paid, in order to vote. Meeting materials will be mailed to homeowners prior to the annual meeting. Proxies may be assigned to the board for purposes of achieving quorum, or may be assigned to a neighbor who plans to attend.

Those who attend or who return proxies, either by mail or hand-delivery, will be eligible for door prizes.

For more information, contact Association Manager Cyndy Rath at: 515.222.5206, or e-mail:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Proposal: Move All GMW Grade-schoolers to Timber Ridge in 2014

The Johnston Community School District will conduct a public information event at 7 p.m., Tues., Dec. 17, at the Johnston Middle School auditorium, seeking public comments on a proposal to redraw elementary school boundaries starting in the 2014-2015 academic year. The middle school is located at 6207 N.W. 62nd Ave., Johnston.

Under a proposed revision to Johnston school boundaries, 
all students grades K-5 in the Green Meadows West 
neighborhood (dotted white line) would attend 
Timber Ridge (purple area). See article for link to full map.
Under the proposed boundaries, all of the Green Meadows West neighborhood would fall into an area served by Timber Ridge Elementary, 7370 N.W. 54th Ave, Johnston. An estimated 107 Wallace students would be transferred to Timber Ridge. Effectively, this represents approximately 22 students at each grade level. A total of 309 students would be affected by the move.

Currently, a majority of the Green Meadows West neighborhood falls into the area served by Henry A. Wallace Elementary, 6510 N.W. 62nd Ave. Only Plat 12—the section of Green Meadows West nearest the neighborhood entrance on N.W. 54th Avenue.—is currently served by Timber Ridge Elementary.

According to press materials, the proposed boundary changes are intended to relieve overcrowding at Beaver Creek and Horizon elementary schools caused by growth in the city's north and west. Starting in 1984, the district cites a 1 to 4 percent annual increase in student population.

For a downloadable map reflecting the proposed new boundaries, click here.

For a downloadable map of the current Johnston elementary school service areas, click here.

"Please keep in mind that no firm decisions have been made," said Johnston Schools Superintendent Clay Guthmiller in an e-mail announcement earlier this week. "We take your feedback seriously and it will guide the committee in their next steps. The Board of Education will review the proposed boundaries at the January 13 meeting, with approval slated for the January 27 meeting."

In addition to the Dec. 17 public meeting, comments regarding the proposed boundary changes may be directed via e-mail to Johnston Schools communications coordinator Laura Dillavou at:

For updates regarding the Johnston Community School District's facilities construction, school boundary changes, and other proposals, visit the district's "Construction Central" website.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Plan for a Safe and Secure Holiday Season!

As holiday vacations and observances approach, remember to plan ahead for the safety of your family and property. Here are few helpful reminders regarding decorations and preparations:
  • Do not hang lighting or signs on association property, including streetlamp posts. Tape and other materials cause damage to paint, increasing your association's maintenance costs.
  • Do not leave candles lit for long periods unobserved.
  • Ensure fire extinguishers in your home are charged and well-maintained. Place them within reach but outside of stovetop and other high-risk areas. Test smoke alarms, and change batteries as needed. 
  • If you and your family are leaving your home for an extended time, use lamp timers to make the house appear occupied in your absence. Request a "mail hold" from the U.S. Postal Service, so that mail doesn't stack up. Advise your neighbors that you may be out of town, so they can watch your house. Arrange for someone to pick up package deliveries, or to clear your driveway and sidewalks if it snows. Using a "vacation watch" form, you even also request the Johnston Police Department make occasional and random trips past your house.
  • Finally, if you're traveling by car, make sure to pack a winter weather survival kit. Include items such as blankets, snow shovels, ice scrapers, cell phone chargers, and flashlights for use in roadside emergencies.
Have a safe and enjoyable holiday!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Storms Unlikely to Scare Off Tonight's Trick-or-Treaters

Anticipated thundershowers may scare off some trick-or-treaters at this evening's Beggars' Night in Johnston, Iowa, but Green Meadow West drivers should remain vigilant for any ghouls and goblins who take a "never say die" attitude toward the annual collection of candies.

Children participating in Beggars' Night can also use flashlights, chemical lights, or reflective clothing to increase visibility in the less-than-ideal weather and light conditions.

In Johnston—as well as nearby Ankeny, Clive, Des Moines, Urbandale and West Des Moines—Beggars' Night is 6 to 8 p.m., Wed., Oct. 31.

In Adel, Grimes, and Waukee, the event is 6 to 8 p.m., Thurs., Oct. 31—the traditional date of Halloween. Waukee had originally scheduled its 2013 Beggars' Night for Oct. 30, but moved the event due to a conflict with a high-school football playoff game.

In Dallas Center, Beggars' Night is 4:30 to 6 p.m., Oct. 31.

The Des Moines Register has posted a list of all metro area Beggars' Night dates and times here.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Help Prevent Home Fires and Injuries with a Few Simple Steps

Green Meadows West neighbors are encouraged to review fire safety plans and preparations during National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 6-12, 2013. In 2008, a house in the neighborhood's Plat 9 was destroyed by fire, killing one person.

 Here are some quick projects to help make your family safer:
Established by President Calvin Coolidge in 1911, National Fire Prevention Week annually commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

This year's National Fire Prevention Week theme focuses on kitchen safety, including cooking, scald prevention, and microwave oven safety. A 50-second on-line video starring Sparky the Fire Dog and his Aunt Dotty discusses kitchen safety here.

The National Fire Prevention Association, Quincy, Mass., also offers many free resources for educators, safety professionals, and families—including free apps and e-books for kids! For a video describing the apps, click here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Thanks for Attending Our Annual Picnic!

A few hundred Green Meadows West neighbors braved somewhat blustery weather conditions Sunday afternoon, making the annual "Picnic in the Park" its usual success. The event took place near the gazebo located on the association's "Dover Park."

A free catered barbecue dinner by Texas Roadhouse, Johnson, was served to homeowners' association members and families.

Adults listened to the alternative-country-rock sounds of Polk City band Patterson 216, while kids played on a giant inflatable slide, bounce house, and obstacle course. Staff from Johnston Public Library read stories to the children, while Johnston fire and police personnel visited with kids.

Photographs of the event are posted at the neighborhood's Facebook page here and here. There is also a 30-second panoramic video of the event below. A higher-resolution version is also on Facebook here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

This Sunday, Sept. 15: Our 7th Annual Picnic in the Park!

The 7th Annual Green Meadows West “Picnic in the Park” event will be held Sun., Sept. 15, from 4 to 7 p.m., near the neighborhood’s signature gazebo located on the association’s privately maintained “Dover Park.” Members are reminded that the publicly accessible private park is available for rental through the association manager.

The event will again feature inflatable play equipment for younger children, including a bounce house, obstacle course, and giant slide. Johnston police and fire department personnel will visit after 5 p.m.

A free catered barbecue dinner by Texas Roadhouse, Johnson, will be served to association members and families. Menu includes BBQ Chicken Sandwich or BBQ pork sandwich, and chips. Water and cookies are provided by Hy-Vee.

New this year will be performances by Patterson 216, a Polk City-based four-piece band offering “alternative and indie influences that morph into an Alt Country sound with an unmistakable groove.” The group promises to play plenty of covers and “keep it pretty chill.”

 “Like" our neighborhood's Facebook page by Sept. 22, and get an opportunity to win a $25 grocery card!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Board Nominations, Budget Suggestions Sought for 2014

Are you interested in improving and maintaining the look, feel, and character of our neighborhood? Do you have ideas on how to preserve and protect our property values, environment, and common areas? The Green Meadows West Homeowners Association needs you!

Nominations for board of directors positions are open year-round, but are actively solicited in the months preceding the association's annual meeting of all members, held in January.

The Nominations Committee invites interested parties to contact the association manager via e-mail, postal mail, fax, or phone.

As announced at the 2013 annual meeting, the 2013-2014 Nominations Committee comprises:
  • DeAnn Lee (chairperson)
  • Jack Sullivan
  • Steve Suvalsky
Directors serve terms of three years. The board of directors meets monthly, usually on second Tuesdays. The volunteer position of director is uncompensated. Directors and other volunteers can also serve on committees and working groups.

September is also a particularly good time to suggest to the directors any spending, maintenance, or other priorities, as the board moves into its annual budget process in October. Please direct communications to:
Green Meadows West Homeowners Association
c/o Knapp Properties Inc.
5000 Westown Parkway, Suite 400
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266 
Phone: 515.223.4000
Fax: 515.222.5220

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Expert Helps Neighbors Survey the Green Meadows West Prairie

Inger Lamb, owner of Prairie Landscapes of Iowa LLC, conducts her final informational "Green Meadows West Prairie Walk" of the 2013 summer season Thurs., Aug. 15.

Green Meadows West neighbors of all ages are invited to meet 7 p.m. at the parking lot at Windsor Park, near the intersection of Windsor Parkway and King's Row.

Following the July prairie walk, Lamb wrote the following note to association members:

Like cats and dogs, plants have families analogous to animal groups. or dogs. In most prairies, plant families include grasses, daisies or sunflowers, and legumes.

On our walks we often see legumes (Fabaceae family), which are well represented elsewhere by soybean and peas. These are important because they have a very special ability to remove nitrogen from the air, and to convert it from an unusable inert form into biologically active forms. Representative plants in the Green Meadows West prairie include both white and purple prairie clover, leadplant, both cream and white wild indigo, showy ticktrefoil (the source of “sticktights” on your socks), roundheaded bush clover, Illinois bundleflower and partridge pea. Unfortunately, this group also includes the non-native invasive crown vetch, but we’re working to eradicate that one!

Members of the sunflower/daisy or aster family (Asteraceae) we find at Green Meadows West include pale purple coneflower, daisy fleabane, smooth ox-eye, yellow/gray-headed coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, the Silphiums (rosin weed, cupplant and compass plant); and, of course, all the asters (Northeast aster, frost aster, sky blue aster, etc.). Species that, at first glance, might not seem likely members of this family are Liatris (gayfeather or prairie blazing star), prairie sage, ironweed and the goldenrods. The ragweeds (common and giant) are native-but-less-appreciated weedy members of this group, and occur naturally in the Green Meadows West prairie.

Thistles are also included in the Asteraceae; some are native and some, like the noxious weed Canada thistle, are not. You’d think with a name like Canada thistle it would at least be from North America, but it’s actually Mediterranean in origin!

On our July prairie walk, the Culver’s root was blooming profusely and attracted some attention. Its “whorled” leaves—4 or 5 coming from the same spot on the stem, radiating out in a circle—is fairly novel in the world of plant leaf arrangements. The flowers are also attractive, many tiny white flowers forming a cluster of spikes at the top of the plant.

Someone asked me what family this plant belonged to and I was not sure, but looked it up when I got home. They are in the snapdragon or figwort family, the wonderfully named Scrophulariaceae. This group is not as widely represented as the others mentioned above, but does also include the Penstemons (foxglove & large-flowered beardtongues), which we appreciate in the early spring. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Keep Pools Cool, Safe, and Within Covenants

The Green Meadows West Homeowners’ Association encourages members to keep kids and pets safe this summer by observing all Johnston municipal laws and neighborhood covenants regarding swimming pools. Consumer and safety experts warn that small children can easily drown in small pools, toilets, and even 5-gallon buckets.

According to the City of Johnston, a pool is “any structure intended for swimming, recreational bathing or wading capable of containing water 24-inches-deep or more. This includes in-ground, above-ground, and on-ground pools; hot tubs; spas.”

Green Meadows West neighbors planning to install in-ground swimming pools should ensure they first purchase a building permit from the City of Johnston prior to construction, and meet building code requirements. Requirements include a 6-foot-high non-climbable fence with a self-locking gate.”

Green Meadows West covenants prohibit above-ground swimming pools other than “small swimming pools for infants.” In-ground pools are permitted.

The association recently successfully litigated the removal of an above-ground swimming pool. The pending removal is the third such enforcement action in neighborhood history. Fines of $17,000 or more may be assessed in the most-recent case.

For more information on Johnston building code requirements, click here.

For more information on Green Meadows West covenants, click here.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Delinquent Dues Successfully Collected Through Liens, Small Claims

Board reports successes in collecting delinquent dues As of May 2013, fewer than 10 of the 531 Green Meadows West properties are delinquent in paying twice-annual membership dues in amounts greater than $400.

The $400 threshold is the point at which notice of a pending property lien is automatically sent.

After a property lien is filed, unless the property is in foreclosure, a property cannot be sold without first paying the delinquent amount.

Liens are currently filed or are being filed on the following properties:
  • 5640 Chatham Street
  • 5663 Foxboro Road
  • 8000 Heather Bow
  • 6006 Nottingham Drive
  • 6009 Nottingham Drive
  • 6040 Nottingham Drive
  • 8160 Wellington Boulevard
  • 6004 Weybridge Court
Homeowners who are delinquent in an amount greater than $600 are automatically sent an attorney’s notice of pending small claims court action.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Change of Mailing Address for Association Management Company

Knapp Properties Inc., the company that manages the day-to-day operations of the Green Meadow West Homeowners Association, has recently moved offices.

As of July 19, 2013, please direct all postal correspondence, including invoices and membership dues, to the following address:
Green Meadows West Homeowners Association
c/o Knapp Properties Inc.
5000 Westown Parkway, Suite 400
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
Phone number and e-mail address for Association Manager Cyndy Rath are unchanged: 515.222.5206; cyndy.rath AT

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Save the Date! Annual Picnic is Sept. 15!

Save the date! The 7th Annual Green Meadows West “Picnic in the Park” event will be held Sun., Sept. 15, from 4 to 7 p.m., near the neighborhood’s signature gazebo located on the association’s privately maintained “Dover Park.” The park is available for rental through the association manager.

The event will again feature inflatable play equipment for younger children, including a bounce house, obstacle course, and giant slide. A free catered barbecue dinner will be served to association members and families.

New this year will be performances by Patterson 216, a Polk City-based four-piece band offering “alternative and indie influences that morph into an Alt County sound with an unmistakable groove.” The group promises to play plenty of covers and “keep it pretty chill.”

Dates have not yet been announced for the City of Johnston’s 2013 “Night with the Neighbors” outreach program, which includes traveling displays of fire, rescue, construction, and law-enforcement equipment, as well as reading activities led by favorite book characters. This event usually coincides with the neighborhood’s picnic event.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Johnston Police Monitoring Neighborhood Speed Limits, Intersections

Johnston police officials are increasing patrols within the Green Meadows West community this summer, helping to encourage compliance with 25 mph speed limits and full stops at neighborhood intersections.

Areas of concentration include, but are not limited to:
  • Intersection of King’s Row and Windsor Parkway
  • Intersection of Chambery Boulevard and Foxboro Road
  • Chambery Boulevard, east- and westbound
  • Foxboro Road, north- and southbound
Speed-enforcement trailers, which serve as non-ticketing reminders to passing motorists, may be incorporated into the effort later this summer or next spring.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

All-ages Educational 'Prairie Walks' Announced for Summer 2013

The Green Meadows West Homeowners Association has announced a series of educational walking tours for the 2013 summer season. Led by expert Inger Lamb of Prairie Landscapes of Iowa LLC, neighbors of all ages are invited to learn about the plants of the neighborhood's more than 12 acres of prairie.

The dates are:
  • June 10
  • July 2
  • July 24
  • August 15
  • September 5
Walks begin at 7 p.m. at the Windsor Park trailhead, located near the intersection of Windsor Parkway and King's Row. The path through the neighborhood's central prairie is paved.

This is the second year the walks will be conducted. The events are part of a comprehensive prairie restoration program administered by the association's board of directors. Attendees will learn to identify various types of native and non-native plants, and discussions will often focus on how neighbors can help maintain and improve the quality of the area's showcase landscape.

The prairie area is a unique feature of the Green Meadows West neighborhood, which was originally designed and developed by a subsidiary of the Pioneer Hi-Bred company, now known as DuPont Pioneer.

In addition to running a native landscape restoration and maintenance business, Lamb is a past contributor to publications such as Woodlands & Prairies magazine. A list of Lamb's articles of potential interest to prairie enthusiasts is available at her business website here. Resource lists, including planting recommendations for rain garden and native landscapes, are available here.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Neighborhood-wide Garage Sale is April 19-20

The annual Green Meadows West neighborhood garage sale will be Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20.

Official signs will be posted as early as April 15, and neighborhood rules about posting garage and yard sale signs in common areas will temporarily be suspended. Members are asked to remove their individual signs not later than Mon., April 22.

The neighborhood-wide sale will also be advertised in The Des Moines Register, Craigslist, and other online and print venues.

The annual event takes place annual the week prior to Johnston Spring Clean Up Days. This year, Spring Clean-up Days will occur the week of April 22.

According to the City of Johnston website, details include:

  • Curbside pickup for large items will be on April 22 and 23. Please have your items curbside by 6 a.m. to insure your items will be collected. These items do not require a sticker for the pickup.
  • Your pickup date will be the same as your normal garbage day.
  • Hazardous items are not allowed during the clean up. Televisions may be set curbside for disposal.
  • Tree branches will be accepted again this year at the Johnston Public Works facility at 6400 NW Beaver Drive. Dates and hours for this service are: Thurs., April 25, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Fri., April 26, 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.; and Sat., April 27, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
  • Passenger tires may be dropped off at the Public Works facility from Mon., April 22 to Fri., April 26th between the hours of 7:30 and 3:30 a.m. Tires must not be mounted on wheels or rims.

Monday, March 25, 2013

2013 Homeowners Association Officers Named

The Green Meadows West Homeowners board of directors named its 2013 officers at the regular March 2013 meeting. Your association board of directors are:
  • Steve Suvalsky, president
  • Jack Sullivan, vice president
  • Gary Vanden, treasurer
  • David Erbes, secretary
Suvalsky said he looked forward to continuing the board's efforts to preserve homeowner property values, while promoting the Green Meadows West neighborhood as a good place to live.

Other current board members are:
  • Randy Brown
  • Lori Keech
  • Greg Knoploh
  • Fred Miller
  • Kent Schlawin
  • Jon Tallman
The board of directors meets regularly on the second Tuesday of each month. Homeowner association members who wish to correspond with the board, or have concerns or questions regarding the association, should contact Association Manager Cyndy Rath at:
Knapp Properties Inc.
4949 Westown Parkway Suite 200
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266-6704