Information for Newcomers

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For those relocating to Ames, welcome to our community!  We hope you'll agree that Ames, Iowa, offers residents a high quality of life with clean and safe neighborhoods, lots of green spaces and parks, a wide range of entertainment options, recreation opportunities, miles of hard surface trails, and an abundance of natural beauty.  Pond in Moore Memorial Park

In Ames, we enjoy four distinct seasons and all the opportunity that comes with warm summers (bike trails, outdoor swimming, and golf courses) and cold winters (cross county skiing, ice fishing, and sledding). We also have ways to keep busy during the weather that falls in the middle.

For specific information about moving to our community, try one of the links below to learn everything from how to hook up your utilities to how to purchase a season pass to the Furman Aquatic Center. 

Here are a few items that may be of interest to you.

Good Neighbor Guide

Click here for the Good Neighbor Guide in PDF

Housing Information

Those who have purchased a home in Ames may be interested in learning more about the Homestead Tax Credit, which is administered through the City Assessor's Office.

Garbage Collection
In Ames and Story County there are only private garbage haulers. These haulers are able to pick up garbage anywhere in the city or county; there are no assigned territories. To find a carrier, check the yellow pages or ask a neighbor for a recommendation. The City of Ames does not pick up any garbage.  Residents may haul garbage by themselves to the Resource Recovery Plant, 110 Center Ave., and pay the fee for disposal.

There is not a landfill in Story County. Garbage goes to the Resource Recovery Plant, where it is processed and separated into metals, refuse-derived fuel (RDF - an alternative fuel used at the City's power plant in place of coal), and rejects. Through an agreement with the Boone County Landfill, we take our rejected material to them. Therefore, it is not necessary for us to maintain our own separate landfill

Living in Neighborhoods
The City of Ames has a long tradition of supporting strong neighborhoods.  After all, strong neighborhoods are the building blocks of a vibrant, connected community.  The Ames City Council shows its support of neighborhoods through the support of Neighborhood Associations, the Ames Police Department's Safe Neighborhoods Team, the Street 'N' Greet Block Party Trailer, Neighborhood Improvement Program grants funding, the Neighborhood News quarterly newsletter, and public outreach and education.

Recreation in Ames:

Ames Animal Shelter and Animal Control

Ames Animal Shelter and Animal Control, 325 Billy Sunday Road, 515-239-5530. Animal Shelter hours: Monday and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday, noon to 5:30 p.m. Closed Sunday and holidays.

Individuals wishing to adopt a pet may contact the Animal Shelter at 515-239-5530 about responsible adoptions. If you have lost your pet or if you have found someone else’s, please call. 

Animals at Large/Leash Law

If an animal is found loose and unrestrained, it may be picked up and sheltered for seven days and may be adopted after this time if left unclaimed. In order to retrieve an animal the owner must pay a fee. Both dogs and cats must be kept on a leash while on public property or school grounds. 

Bicycle Registration

ISU and the City of Ames bicycle registration program is simple, free of charge and never expires. Bicycle owners fill out a short form either in person at the locations listed below or on-line. Your information is recorded in our system and you receive a sticker with a registration number to affix to your bike. It's that easy!

Emergency Sirens 

The City of Ames holds monthly siren tests on the first Wednesday of every month at 10 a.m., weather permitting.  The sirens are also tested around the end of March during the statewide tornado drill in conjunction with the National Weather Service Weather Awareness Week (date is announced each year).

Parks and Recreation

  • Main office is located at 1500 Gateway Hills Park Drive, 515-239-5350
  • Auxiliary office at the City Hall Community Center, 515 Clark Avenue, 515-239-5360

To receive a brochure of our year-round activities, call 515-239-5350.

The facilities include the following:

  • 750 acres of parks/30 parks
  • Nine-hole golf course
  • 18-hole disc golf course
  • Indoor ice-skating rink
  • Furman Aquatic Center (outdoor)
  • Brookside Park Wading Pool
  • Indoor swimming pool at Ames High School
  • Community Center with gymnasium, weight room and fitness room
  • 800+ seat auditorium

Parks and Recreation Program Information Hotline Call 515-239-5434, then:

  • press "1" for program cancellations
  • press "2" for Community Center open gym hours
  • press "3" for Community Center weight room hours
  • press "4" for Ames City Auditorium information

For more information check out the Parks and Recreation Web site.

Ames City Auditorium

515 Clark Avenue, 515-239-5360
Can be rented out for community and performing arts events. 

Bike Trails

There are currently 22 miles of bicycle trails in Ames. A map of the existing bike trails can be picked up at bicycle shops in Ames and at the Kiosk in City Hall, 515 Clark Ave. Here is some further information about biking in Ames. 

Community Center/Weight Room

515 Clark Avenue, 515-239-5360
Includes gym, weights and fitness room. 

Disc Golf Course

1500 Gateway Hills Drive
This new challenge uses discs thrown at baskets 300 feet away! 

Homewood Golf Course

East 20th Street, 515-239-5363 

Ice Arena

1505 Gateway Hills Park Drive.
For public use hours, call 515-292-6835.

Public Swimming Pools

  • Furman Aquatic Center, 515-232-7665
  • Municipal Pool, 515-232-4561