- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

MANCHESTER, Iowa (AP) - Work recently was finished to convert a stretch of the Maquoketa River into rapids in Delaware County.

Crews have completed installing six, 18-inch drops along a 900-foot stretch of the river for the new Manchester Whitewater Park, The Telegraph Herald (https://bit.ly/1BkbhRn ) reports that

Organizers say the $2 million-plus project isn’t yet finished due to construction costs exceeding project estimates. The addition of amenities like public restrooms and benches has been delayed.

Executive director Jack Klaus of the Manchester Area Chamber of Commerce said the community already is enjoying the benefits of the attraction with the rapids being open to the public.

A “soft opening” celebration is scheduled for this weekend.

Mark Donisi, who was one of dozens to visit the attraction last week, worked his way to the bank of the Maquoketa River, carefully stepping between stones set in concrete to enjoy the rapids.

“This is my first time in a kayak since 1975,” Donisi said. “So this should be fun.”

The park began as an idea from the Manchester Good to Great Committee, which organized a capital campaign and lobbied city and county officials for funding.

City of Manchester officials initially contributed $600,000 to the project, while Delaware County Supervisors provided $50,000. Around $630,000 was raised during the capital campaign.

According to City Administrator Timothy Vick, the city’s contribution has increased to around $900,000 due to unforeseen expenses.

He said the lower of two bids for the project was more than $200,000 over than what was anticipated. He added that construction workers had to deal with unexpected bedrock issues and an old water main had to be relocated.

But he said the park is an investment in tourism and economic development. For every one person who comes to play in the water, another four watch from the bank.

“If they’re out on the banks walking, they’re in our downtown,” Vick said. “If we can get them to walk downtown and visit the shops, that’s a huge benefit.”

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Information from: Telegraph Herald, https://www.thonline.com

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