Parks & Recreation
When are City parks open?
Public park hours are between 7am and 10pm every day.
Does the City provide trash receptacles in public parks?

Yes, trash receptacles are installed in all public parks and emptied at least twice a week.

For rentable shelters, trash is emptied after each rental.

Are dogs allowed in parks?

Yes, dogs are allowed in all public parks. They must have a leash, cord, chain, or similar restraint not more than six feet in length (See City Code Chapter 55.06).

Additionally, there is a dog park located at 851 17th Ave SW, Altoona, IA.

Where can I get a dog park pass?

At this time, access to the Altoona dog park is free and does not require a pass.

Can I drink or serve alcohol in parks?
No. Alcohol consumption and distribution is not allowed in public parks. 
How do I register for swimming lessons at the Aquatics Park?
Learn more about Altoona Campus swim lessons & registrations here:


Who owns Terrace Hills Golf Course?

The City of Altoona owns Terrace Hills Golf Course. The golf course is managed by CSC Golf Management Co.

How can I contact Terrace Hills Golf Course?
You can contact Terrace Hills Golf Course through any of the following:

Phone:                  (515) 967-2932

Email:                    terracehillsgolf@yahoo.com

Online Form:       https://golf-terracehills.com/contact-us/
Does Terrace Hills Golf Course have leagues?
Yes! Learn more about the Terrace Hills golf leagues here:
Does Terrace Hills Golf Course offer golf lessons?
Yes! Learn more about Terrace Hills golf lessons here:
How do I book a tee time at Terrace Hills Golf Course?
You can book a tee time online here:

Call (515) 967-2932 with any questions.
Does the City have a mosquito control program in place?

Yes.  Mosquitoes can be dangerous with their threat of transmitting diseases, such as encephalitis to humans and heartworms to pets. 

The City of Altoona periodically sprays mosquitoes starting in April until sometime in October, depending on mosquito count and weather conditions.  The City uses Kontrol 30-30 Concentrate and ULV Karrier Green.  Altoona also uses an ultra-low volume cold aerosol insecticide generator/sprayer that targets mosquitoes. 

Mosquito control and your safety are important.  That is why we use chemicals and techniques that meet EPA standards.

Please contact the Parks Department if you do not want the City to spray your area for mosquitoes, or you want to be contacted prior to the city spraying in your area.

Property Owners
How can I locate my property lines?

Your property line is a line identified on a plat map as the boundary of your lot. These are generally marked by a survey marker (a pipe or metal bar) buried slightly below the ground at the corners of your property. Often the front corners are located a foot or so behind the sidewalk (toward the house). The Building Department can provide you with a plat drawing to assist you in locating the property pins.

Learn more about locating property pins with this PDF.
Can I have a fire pit on my property?

No. According to the Altoona Fire Code, recreational fires are not allowed.

See Chapter 161, Section 8

Can I trim the branches of my neighbor's tree that hang onto my property?

There is a procedure in place for the City to enforce trees overhanging property limits. See Chapter 151  of the City code for more details and contact the City with your concerns.

When are loud noises prohibited (mowing, construction, etc)?

Regulated noise disturbances are prohibited before 6:30am and after 9:00pm.

See Chapter 58 of the City Code for a list of regulated noise disturbances.

Do I need a permit for a garage sale?

You do not need a permit for a garage sale. However, you can publicize your garage sale by registering it on the Altoona Chamber of Commerce website here.

Remember that garage sale signs cannot be placed in City Right-of-Way. Typically, this means they must stay on your property, behind the sidewalk.

Can I post garage sale, real estate, or political signs in my yard?
Yes. Signs can be placed within the boundaries of your property. Signs may not be placed in the Right-of-Way. In most developments, this means signs must stay behind the public sidewalk (towards the house).
When do I need a Building Permit?

The Building Department requires permits for a variety of home projects, remodeling, and construction projects. Here is a list of projects requiring permits:

  • Fences
  • Sheds (larger than 40 Sq Ft)
  • Swimming Pools / Hot Tubs
  • Decks
  • Pergola
  • Any electrical changes
  • Any plumbing changes
  • Any mechanical changes
  • Any structural changes
  • Basement Finish
  • New residential buildings
  • New commercial buildings
  • New rooms added to existing buildings
  • Accessory structures
  • Sidewalk or Approach Replacement
  • Egress Windows
  • Signs
  • Tenant Finishes

You can learn more and/or apply for a permit by visiting the Building Department’s Online Portal. On the homepage, find the section labelled “Permits.”

To determine if you need a permit, you can click “Learn More About Permitting” and then on the left side of the page, click “Do you need a Permit.” On this page, under “More Information,” there’s a list of circumstances that do not require permits.

What are the guidelines for installing a pool on my property?

You must apply for a building permit to install a pool on your property. Learn more on the CitizenServe Online Portal.

I want to install an alarm in my house. Do I need a permit?
No. Permits are not required for low voltage electric work such as installing an alarm.
Do I need a permit to replace my sidewalk?

It depends.

If you are replacing the public sidewalk along your property, you do need a permit. Public sidewalk is easily recognizable, as it typically runs along roadways and connects to your neighbor’s portion of sidewalk.

You do not need a permit to replace private sidewalk located farther inside your property, near your house, garage, or patio.

What animals are banned within City limits?

The City of Altoona does not allow homeowners to keep livestock, except physician prescribed therapy animals with specific approval of the City Council. Banned livestock include cattle, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, ostriches, rheas, emus, farm deer, or poultry. See Chapter 55 for more information.

The City also bans the ownership of dangerous animals. Additionally, owners of dangerous or vicious dogs must comply with a list of regulations. See Chapter 57 for more information, including a list of banned dangerous animals.

Public Services
Can I print documents at the Altoona Public Library?

Yes, there are several options for printing at the Altoona Public Library Learn more here.

Can I check my library account online?
Yes!  Sign into your library account here. You’ll need your account username or barcode and your PIN number.
What materials do I need in order to get a library card?

You need a photo ID and proof of your current address. A Driver’s License would cover both criteria. Learn more here.

Do City facilities close for snow?

Yes and no.

The Altoona Public Library will close for inclement weather.  The library reports changes in hours to the Des Moines Register, WHO, KCCI and posts information on their website and Facebook page located at www.altoona.lib.ia.us.

City Hall, Police Department, Fire Department and Public Works/Utilities do NOT close for inclement weather but our services may be affected by the weather events.

The Altoona Campus is managed by a separate board and policies.  In regards to their closure procedures, please contact the Campus at (515) 967-0788.

How do I renew my Driver's License?
You can renew your driver’s license online here:

You can also renew your driver’s license in person at an approved site. Visit the following for more information:

If you have questions on license renewal, you can call 515-244-1052 or email myMVD@iowadot.us

How do I renew my License Plate?
The State of Iowa Department of Transportation directs the county treasurer as their agent to process motor vehicle transactions and collect appropriate fees according to the Code of Iowa.  These duties include but are not limited to:

  • Transfer of ownership (title transfer) and collection of Road Use Tax.
  • Registration fees (license plate/validation fees)
  • All types of vehicles (cars, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, truck-trailers, and semi-trailers) must pay an annual license fee.
  • Specialty plates issuance.
  • Duplicate titles, registrations, and plates.
  • Notation and cancellation of security interests (liens).
  • Storage of vehicles and Junking Certificate issuance.
Polk County Treasurer Office is located at:

County Administration Building – Room 140
111 Court Avenue
Des Moines, IA50309-2298
Phone: 515-286-3030
Fax: 515-286-2225

Walk-in Customers, Mon-Fri, 7am – 5pm
Phone Customers, Mon-Fri, 7am – 4:45pm
24 hour web service www.iowataxandtags.gov

Please click below to be connected with the Polk County Treasurer’s office:
Where can I find local school information?

Altoona is a part of the Southeast Polk Community School District. You can learn more on their website: www.southeastpolk.org

What is a dog license? Do I need one?

All dogs six months of age or older must be registered annually through Polk County, per Ordinance No. 136. This includes dogs within the City of Altoona. 

Licenses can be obtained from the Polk County Auditor.