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HomeShowExpo 2011: A Break in Tradition
By Tracy Dickinson | Artwork by Bower Design
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The Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines has been presenting its annual HomeShowExpo for 36 years now, giving Iowans the opportunity to see how beautiful a great
investment can look. This year’s show features homes in a community on the metro’s eastern edge.

A New View
The HomeShowExpo “showcases the metro’s finest builders and developers,” according to the HBA. But for the first time in its history, the Expo will take place in Altoona.

Brandon Klinge of Pella Windows & Doors, chairman of this year’s Expo, says, “It was really an easy
decision. Altoona was selected because of the entire package—the city’s involvement, the developer’s
presentation, and the sponsorship already on board. It was just a perfect opportunity for the Expo and for the attendees. It’s going to be really special.”

Scheduled for July 22–31, the show presents 10 fully decorated model homes from nine HBA-
member builders (see list of homes). Unlike other home shows, HomeShowExpo is a single-site show,
allowing attendees to view all the homes in one location rather than in several developments spread around the metro.

A Healthy Attitude
Altoona city leaders and Vista Real Estate and Investment Corporation, developers of the Ironwood
neighborhood, recognized this as the perfect opportunity to show the rest of central Iowa what this suburb has to offer.

“We were ready to begin this last plat at Ironwood,” Vista’s Justin Washburn says, “and we felt it was an ideal fit with the amenities, the location, the price point on the lots and homes. And then the City of Altoona and Prairie Meadows were on board almost from the start.”

As Melissa Horton of the Altoona Chamber of Commerce explains, “For so long Altoona has been viewed as a bedroom community, without a real identity outside of Des Moines. But we are so much more. We’ve got a small-town feel, where every neighborhood has its sense of community, but we have entertainment, shopping, recreation—everything you could ask for in a hometown.”

In fact, Altoona has made that sense of community a priority in its development. The city has controlled its growth so that neighborhoods and business areas are distributed throughout
the city, not concentrated in one location near the interstate.

And recreational and green spaces abound, interconnecting the entire town. “We have over 200 acres of recreational space and more than 17 miles of bike trails connecting to state trails both north and south of town,” Horton says.

To maintain that level of green development, the city’s tax abatement program requires some level of green development. Developers must either provide green space within each development or, if the development is too small, fund parks and recreation space elsewhere in town.

An Entertaining Event
That emphasis on recreation and community living is reflected in the activities at HomeShowExpo 2011. “For the first time ever, the HomeShowExpo and RAGBRAI will be crossing paths,” says Klinge. Altoona is an overnight stop on this year’s RAGBRAI tour, which takes place the same week as the Expo.

“We’ve got some exciting promotions going on this year,” Klinge adds (see list of events). “Community is such an important part of Altoona living, we wanted to tie that in to the activities, too. We’re sampling foods from local restaurants, inviting area chamber of commerce members to attend, and Prairie Meadows is sponsoring a $20,000 free room makeover cash giveaway.”

You can always count on the annual HomeShowExpo to present the finest homes, the latest trends, and some of the best builders in Iowa. This year your $10 admission offers even more—an introduction to a little-known community, an opportunity to share the tour with RAGBRAI fans from around the world, and a chance to take home $20,000. Sounds like a worthwhile investment.

HomeShowExpo 2011 Details:
Admission: Adults $10 | Children 5-12: $5 | 5 and under: Free

Dates & Times: Begins Friday, July 22nd and ends Sunday, July 31st.
Saturdays & Sundays 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Mondays and Tuesdays 4:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Wednesdays-Fridays 1:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 31: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Location, Directions & Parking:
This year's HomeShowExpo will be located at Ironwood Development in Altoona. The development is located on the southeast corner of Altoona. Check the website for directions to Spring Creek Sports Complex where you can ride the free shuttle to the HomeShowExpo site.


HomeShowExpo 2011 Events:
Chamber Day. Altoona honors community pride, so any Chamber of Commerce member from the metro area or its suburbs will be admitted for half price on July 25.

Rider Appreciation Day. To celebrate the big bike tour and its many participants, anyone with a wristband will be admitted for half price during the ride’s Altoona stopover on July 27th.

Sample Altoona. Each day of the show, a different local restaurant will be selling samples from its menu.

Prairie Meadows Giveaway. A $20,000 cash giveaway for a "free room makeover" will be awarded. See details at




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