Charles City Whitewater course opens for summer fun - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Charles City Whitewater course opens for summer fun

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CHARLES CITY (KWWL) -

After nearly a decade of planning, millions of dollars, and more than a year of construction, the Charles City Whitewater recreation course is open to the public. It's located in the downtown area, and utilizes a stretch of the Cedar River. It also happens to be the ideal way to spend a hot summer day.

"It's pretty intense!" said 16 year-old Aaron Sande, soaked from his last trip down the river.

But there were times when constructing the course seemed nearly impossible.

"Since we've been working on this for four and a half years, and we dealt with one of the worst floods ever, it's a little surreal that its here," said Bob Kloberdanz, the Charles City Park Board Chairman.

The Charles City Whitewater course has been a labor of love for community leaders and a dream come true for kayaking fanatics like Ty Graham, who is a member of Prairie Rapids Paddlers.

"People who like to go skiing, you've got to go to the mountains. But what we're doing, is we're bringing the mountains to us," Graham noted.

The course is laid out to be fun for kids, yet challenging for experienced paddlers.

"I had one gentleman from Omaha who told me that he goes to Colorado five times a year, and has for 20 years, and our dam drop -- the first feature in our park -- is nicer than any wave he's been at in Colorado," Kloberdanz told KWWL.

The rapids are already drawing kayakers, and their families, to stay in Charles City.

"We're hoping the visitors come up here, dine in our restaurants, stay in our hotels, fill their cars up with gas," said Charles City Chamber of Commerce Tourism Coordinator Ginger Williams.

The city estimates the park will bring in more than $800,000 each year, because -- whether you're an expert, a novice, or somewhere in between -- the park has something to offer.

"This isn't about us. This is about these kids tubing, and these kids having fun, and the community of Charles City embracing their riverfront," said Graham.

"You know, this is natural, might as well use it. We have a river, we should use it," Sande added.

It won't cost you a penny to take a trip down the Charles City Whitewater course. You can bring your own tube or kayak or rent them for a small fee from local stores. For more information, click here.

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