Riverfront Park project moves forward - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Riverfront Park project moves forward

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CHARLES CITY (KWWL) -- Mid-February, and Charles City leaders are talking about white waters. Obviously, right? Drive over a bridge, and you'll see the layer of ice on the Cedar River.

But City Administrator Tom Brownlow is actually looking ahead to summertime, and a riverfront park that's been in the works for four years.

"There's going to be a nice play area for kids downstream, there's going to be a boat launch, picnic tables, so it's going to be great fun for the people that live here and hopefully for visitors," said Brownlow.

The main draw for those visitors is a bit more extreme. In fact, it will be the only one of its kind in Iowa.

"When we called them and said we wanted to put a whitewater course in Iowa, they thought we were nuts. But when they came and looked at the location, they said it was perfect and we could have a world-class facility here," Brownlow noted.

Brownlow is expecting families who love to kayak, or even just go tubing down the river, to come vacation in Charles City. And when families go on vacation, they tend to bring money. Other communities who have similar kayak courses report added revenues of up to four million dollars each year for their stores and restaurants.

"I think that's pretty ambitious, but even a fraction of that will more than justify the cost that we're spending," Brownlow said.

Not to mention, it'll be a whole lot of fun.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is giving its stamp of approval to the project. They a flood plain permit, one of the final steps for doing construction along the Cedar River.

The city council is considering bids for the project this week. The contractor they pick will have a year to complete it. But Brownlow is hoping the workers will be ambitious, and finish up before the end of summer.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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