Whitewater park in Manchester nearly complete - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Whitewater park in Manchester nearly complete

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MANCHESTER (KWWL) - Whitewater rafting isn't your typical Iowa summer activity. But it could be soon for many eastern Iowans.

Construction is nearly complete on Manchester's whitewater park, which will become just the third of its kind in Iowa. 

"There's nothing like that around, certainly not in northeast Iowa, not in Iowa, not in the Midwest," said Ty Graham, a site representative for Recreation Engineering and Planning out of Boulder, Colorado. "Quite frankly, this is a national attraction, in my opinion."

The site spans nearly 1,000 feet and features hundreds of metric tons of limestone and concrete, Graham said.

It has six unique features, all with plenty of room in between for people to get out of the water or re-gather themselves before continuing down the river.

Graham and his crew were extremely aware of the fact that many people that live around this park might not have any idea how to tackle a whitewater park. But he says they've made it extremely user-friendly.

"We built it for the 98 percent," he said.

He also said it will be very safe -- much safer than when the river featured a dam there.

"You might get some bumps and bruises and scrapes while you're having fun, but your chances of drowning in something like this is significantly less than if you got caught in that circulating hydraulic," he said.

Even the limestone rocks lining the river were designed to be user-friendly. They're arranged much like steps, to help make it easy for people to get close to the water.

And the park will help mitigate floods.  Graham said that instead of the water backing up horizontally at the dam, it will be able to disperse laterally through the park and flow a little bit smoother.

The fishing will be good, too: One fisherman along the river Wednesday said he caught 32 fish last week alone. 
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