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Des Moines Skatepark Could Host International Events, Bring in 40k Visitors

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The first shovels of dirt were turned on Monday on a plot of land that will become a world-class skate venue next year.

Des Moines and Polk County leaders held the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Lauridsen Skatepark on the West bank of the Des Moines River in downtown on Monday.  The skatepark won't just be a recreational facility.  Metro leaders say it will be capable of hosting national and international events.  They believe the park could bring up to 40,000 visitors per year to Des Moines.

The skatepark serves another ceremonial purpose.  Leaders say the start of construction on the park is also the start of a new phase of the development of the Principal Riverwalk.  Once the skatepark is in place they say more big changes are coming.

"It's going to start talking about what we can do for an adventure park, for the water trails and everything else we've been talking about doing with the river walk," says Polk County Supervisor Angela Connolly,  "This is really phase one of the excitement that's coming."

Skateboarding is one of five new sports in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.  Leaders hope that encourages more Iowans to take up the sport and check out the park.  It is expected to open to skaters in 2019.