Des Moines Water Works Park to play host to RAGBRAI campers

RAGBRAI riders, after pedaling 49.9 miles from Perry, will find their oasis at Des Moines’ Water Works Park, the designated campsite for day three of the weeklong ride.

City of Des Moines and RAGBRAI officials considered other locations in and near downtown, including the State Capitol complex as a family-friendly campsite, said Kandi Reindl, assistant to the city manager who is spearheading the city’s RAGBRAI efforts. Ultimately, they determined the park immediately southwest of downtown would be large enough to hold everyone.

Organizers are anticipating fewer campers in Des Moines than in other cities because there are more hotel options and private homes for people to stay at.

Approximately 7,000 riders stayed at the camp grounds in Cedar Rapids last year and RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz said the number likely would be similar in Des Moines. The ride, July 21-27, attracts about 10,000 riders.

“We’d be happy to have them,” said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works.

The 1,500-acre park plays host to dozens of events each year, including the Hy-Vee Big Brothers Big Sisters Fishing Derby and the International Latino Carnival.

Riders likely will enter Des Moines on S.W. 63rd Street and take Park Avenue and George Flagg Parkway to get to the park. From there, shuttle buses will be available to transport riders to RAGBRAI activities taking place downtown.

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