Community projects in Ames, Hampton, Des Moines and Marion won state grants Wednesday for tourism projects.
Iowa Economic Development Authority spokesperson, Jacque) Matsen says a special project is planned for Innis Grove Park in Ames. “It’s really exciting because it’s creating an accessible and inclusive park on the southside of Innis Grove,” Matsen says.
The project was awarded $200,000 in state money for the $2.6 million project.
“The 15,000-square foot playground that they are putting in — it’s going to have five different play areas — but they are all built on a completely rubberized safety surface. And it also includes a Miracle League Field — which is a field that’s specifically designed for children with disabilities to be able to play baseball and enjoy the sport in a safe way,” Matsen explains.
Des Moines won a $200,000 grant for a massive skate park. “They are proposing to build the country’s — not the state’s — the country’s largest skate park,” she says. The Lauridsen Skatepark and Spectator Park will be 88,000 square feet, with and estimated cost of more than $6.3 million. She says it will include bowls and ramps for skateboarding and also areas for the public to watch the competition in the shade.
Franklin County is getting some state money to help with the renovation of their convention center in Hampton. “They are looking to make some significant upgrades and renovation to their meeting space and convention center space there. Which is really important for a small community like that to have a place where they can hold meetings,” according to Matsen. She says the renovations are being called an “extreme makeover.”
“Everything from upgraded restrooms and storage space to just new more appealing walls and exterior upgrades– as well as kind of creating a patio area and upgraded AV equipment — which will facilitate them being able to host more meetings,” Matsen. The total project cost is nearly $1.2 million.
Marion has the biggest overall project, and is getting a $400,000 state grant for a new YMCA.
She says it will replace a 56-year-old facility that recently has had some flooding issues. The facility will be a regional gathering place that includes basketball courts, racquetball, a track, a lap pool, a leisure pool and a cafe. The project will cost more than $20 million. Matsen says these Community Attraction and Tourism or CAT grants are usually the final pieces of funding for the projects.