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Katie Baird rollerskates in downtown Des Moines. Photo: Caleb Smith

Rollerskating has experienced a resurgence thanks to the pandemic and a 90s renaissance, and Des Moines is in a unique position to take it to the next level with the upcoming Lauridsen Skatepark.

Why it matters: One-of-a-kind attractions will draw needed tourists and money once the pandemic recovery starts in earnest.

The big picture: Katie Baird, a career skater in Des Moines, said the park will be huge for people like her who travel 2+ hours to practice at skateparks.

  • Baird, aka Bambi Bloodlust, moved to Des Moines in 2019 — a week after skating the whole week of RAGBRAI with her boyfriend.
  • She said large concrete parks are atypical in the Midwest, so she expects it to draw in both professional and amateur skaters regionally.
  • "It's huge to have a facility like this in our backyard," Baird said. "It's like a training ground opening for us — it's so much opportunity."

Beyond pro skaters, there's an influx of new skaters that you've likely seen on the trails or around your neighborhood, according to Rollerskate Des Moines founder Charissa Thornton-Raysby.

  • The park could inspire the new batch of pandemic skaters to get immersed in the sport or inspire bystanders to lace up, she said.

Her tips for newbies:

  • Hit up Des Moines' extensive bike trail system.
  • Find smooth parking lots to practice in.
  • Don't be shy — join her club!

My thought bubble: Nothing was more fun than cracking glow sticks and rolling around Skate West.

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Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
45 mins ago - Science

China makes history with successful Mars landing

A model of the Tianwen-1 Mars rover is displayed during an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

A Chinese lander carrying a rover successfully touched down on Mars for the first time, state media reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another planet, and it launches the nation into an elite club of only a few space agencies to successfully make it to the Martian surface.

1 hour ago - World

UN: 10,000 Palestinians displaced in Gaza as Israel-Hamas fighting escalates

A Palestinian woman walks after she collects her belongings inside her damaged house following an Israeli air in the northern Gaza Strip. Photo: Ahmed Zakot/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The United Nations warned Friday that ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas "has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis," in not only the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, but "the region as a whole."

The big picture: More than 125 Palestinians, including 31 children have been killed in Gaza since fighting began Monday, per the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Eight people, including two children, have been killed in Israel, Reuters reported, citing Israeli authorities.