This suburb 10 miles north of Des Moines is growing so fast that the local school district is building four new schools, one set to open in 2011. Though many residents commute 20 minutes to the city, Ankeny is also home to offices of manufacturing and biotech companies such as John Deere and Monsanto. Residents are connected by 37 neighborhood parks, within walking distance of every home. When it comes time to break ground on a new park, or renovate an old one, neighborhood kids get to vote to pick their new playground. --A.W.
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