Get to Know: Newton

In Newton, it’s the Iowa Speedway and Valle Drive-In that will catch your eye, but it’s the focus on community that make it a great place in Greater Des Moines (DSM) to call home. This city, east of Des Moines, is currently working to create Harmony Park, a green space that will hold events and encourage play with dancing water and musical sculptures in downtown Newton. The Vernon Company and TPI Composites are just a few of the businesses located in Newton that offer career opportunities. Shopping at EarthWise Pet or relaxing at Gezellig Brewing Co. in Legacy Plaza are must-dos. A visit to Newton Arboretum & Botanical Gardens includes seeing more than six acres of trees, flowers and wetlands. Newton’s Maytag Park offers a historic location for fun city events, bandshell concerts, a disc golf course, pool and more. 

image of a park statue

Newton at a Glance 

  • Population: 15,667 (2021, US Census Bureau) 
  • Location within Greater Des Moines: East 
  • Distance from Des Moines: 34.3 miles 
  • Type of Community: Town 
  • School District: Newton Community School District 
  • County: Jasper 

Newton in one sentence: Newton focuses on providing a safe community with a high quality of life, engaged residents and a strong business community. 

The top five best things about Newton: The top things about Newton are its educational opportunities, post-secondary education, downtown — from the downtown square to Legacy Plaza — and local employers.  

Education: Newton Community School District offers K – 12 schools that are full of academic, athletic and artistic opportunities. A new $27 million middle school was made possible through overwhelming support of a general obligation bond. The Newton Community School District is also home to a Blue Ribbon School recognized by the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. A number of schools have been named Capturing Kids' Hearts National Showcase Schools and have received the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting. Bill Peters, Newton High School Principal stated "there is just no better place to raise your child than Newton, Iowa." 

Post-Secondary Education: Des Moines Area Community College Newton Campus is a place for students of all ages earn a degree, enhance their skills for career advancement or prepare for a new career. DMACC achieves academic excellence through affordable tuition, helpful staff and small class sizes. DMACC Newton campus opened its doors in 1993 with generous support from the Maytag Corporation and the City of Newton. The campus is housed in a 105,000-square-foot building that includes multiple state-of-the-art computer classrooms, an open computer lab, student lounge, 325-seat auditorium, bookstore and the Robert H. Isensee Library. In 2009, the Jasper County Career Academy was opened after receiving grants and support from the Whirlpool Corporation, along with government, economic development, education and business leaders and the program provides opportunities for high school students to earn college credits. 

Downtown: Newton's centrally located, historic downtown defines the city’s character and culture. Downtown Newton is a visually dynamic showplace and a vibrant district with diverse shopping, dining, living and entertainment. A cohesive design plan and complementing financial incentives encourage property owners to invest in their buildings and respect a balance between downtown’s historic integrity and modern elements and improvements.  

Employers: Newton has several large employers including Thombert, Graphic Packaging, TPI Composites, Arcosa and MercyOne Newton Medical Center, which are supported by a strong workforce and offer career opportunities. In addition to major employers, Newton also has a number of independently owned businesses and operations. 

Hidden Gems and Unexpected Finds in Newton: Newton has not one, but two places to catch the latest movies! The Capitol II, Newton’s local movie theater, is located downtown and is also home to a celebrity. Joy, the mini pig, is a Guinness World Records Title Holder for the Most Tricks Performed by a Pig. The Valle Drive-In, open during the summer, is the oldest and most authentic drive-in in Iowa. The Newton Arboretum & Botanical Gardens has multiple annual demonstration beds, mixed borders, shade gardens, a butterfly garden, a rose garden, a peony border and 180+ individual trees and shrubs. The Arboretum also has over 3,000 feet of hard surface trails for accessibility. The Newton YMCA is a leading nonprofit in Jasper County committed to strengthening community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y features an indoor pool and aquatics, group fitness classes, adult and youth sports leagues, a child care center and so much more. They’ve partnered with the Newton Community School District on a pre-k program and middle school sports. 

Community Traditions and Annual Events: Newton Fest, Fourth of July, the Newton High School Homecoming Parade & Pep Rally, the Annual Jasper County Courthouse Lighting and the Holiday Light Display at Maytag Park are just a few not-to-miss events in Newton. 

Best Ways to Get Connected: The Newton Kiwanis and Newton Rotary are two organizations that are very active in the Newton community and have monthly meetings where residents can meet and connect with others. Volunteering for a nonprofit like United Way of Jasper County or Newton Main Street is a sure-fire way to get involved, give back and meet neighbors.  

Big Things on the Horizon for Newton: With passage of the City’s new comprehensive plan “Envision Newton 2042”, Newton is eyeing new forward movement and growth. TPI Composites will be restarting production in their facility and investment and planning at the Legacy Plaza Reinvestment District will begin. 

If you’re coming to check out the community, be sure to spend your day ... heading to a race at the Iowa Speedway, enjoying the outdoor opportunities in Newton — biking the trails or playing disc golf, to name a few! — taste testing the best cheese on a date night at Maytag Dairy Farm or trying out the brews at Gezellig, a local female-founded brewery. Other options? Check out The Cellar Peanut Pub, named Iowa’s Best Great American Beer Bar in 2020 and whose Bloody Mary was named one of the best in America by the Food Network TWICE at the New York Wine & Food Festival and with the cast of the hit television show "Chopped". See a drive-in movie or dig into Newton’s rich history by visiting several locations on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Fred Maytag Park Historic District and The Newton Downtown Historic District. Newton also has a rich and vibrant art scene featuring local and regional artists alike. Consider adding a stop at the Centre for Arts and Artists where you can take an art class and see local artists at work! The Public Sculpture & Art Tour at the Centre features more than 90 pieces of sculptures and murals, or visit the Jasper County Historical Museum to view sculptures by local artists Herman and Neal Deaton. 

Some of the ways Newton advances diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI): Organizations and partners are working constantly on advancing DEI in Newton. Whether it’s simply translating flyers and brochures into languages spoken by employees or even creating a Diversity Alliance (organized by DMACC Newton Campus) or supporting the OPEN organization that promotes Newton’s sister cities.