Iowa’s First Whitewater Park Drawing Visitors to Charles City

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CHARLES CITY, Iowa -- The Charles City Whitewater at Riverfront Park was not on anyone's radar when city leaders began thinking about what to do with the river.

Bob Kloberdanz of the Charles City Park Board said the city had been saving hotel-motel tax dollars for several years so they could "do something big" on the river.

"The more we got to looking at the demographics of who whitewaters, that it's a growing sport, they want to travel, spend money, we realized, that might be a draw for our community," said Kloberdanz.

That there is whitewater kayaking here, is a surprise to some from outside Charles City.

"People say 'you have whitewater in Iowa?' I say 'yes we do, it's right here in Charles City,'" said Ginger Williams, who is the Marketing and Tourism Coordinator for Charles City Community Development.

Williams says the Whitewater attraction does not charge admission, so they don't have any hard numbers as to tourism.  She says it's becoming more common to hear of people from Iowa and out-of-state people planning to visit the park.

Charles City leaders have been following the discussion of what to do with the Des Moines River through downtown Des Moines.  They can relate as they started similar discussions around 10 years back.

If you would like to know more about the Charles City Whitewater Park at Riverfront Park, click here.