- Associated Press - Sunday, December 13, 2015

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Crews have begun mapping the bottom of the Cedar River as part of an effort to develop a $2.6 million whitewater park and kayak course near downtown Waterloo.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports (https://bit.ly/1P0JlqE ) a few people were out on the river Saturday in a boat equipped with expensive sonar equipment.

Waterloo firefighter and whitewater enthusiast Ty Graham said he hopes construction might be getting started by this time next year so the park could open in 2017.

“It’ll be fun five years from now to look back and remember when we were doing these studies,” Graham said.

The plans call for creating an 80-foot-wide strip of whitewater along the east side of the river between the Park Avenue and Fifth Street bridges.

The whitewater course would be open to a variety of nonmotorized crafts, including kayaks and tubing, but it wouldn’t affect water levels upstream.

Waterloo Leisure Services Director Paul Huting said 2017 might be optimistic because the project still needs additional funding and regulatory approval.

The city will also have access to the maps of the river that are being created for underwater search and recovery uses.

“We look forward to the data they’re collecting. They’re moving ahead with the plan,” Huting said.

City officials support the plan because the course would be another selling point for Waterloo. The downtown nonprofit Waterloo Development Corp. believes the project is a high priority, said Dan Watters, who is with the group.

“Having a kayak course located in our downtown is just one more outdoor activity, one more quality of life feature that we have,” Watters said.

The firm city officials are working with, Recreation Engineering and Planning of Boulder, Colorado, has developed similar whitewater courses in Manchester, Charles City and other locations nationwide.


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com

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