Principal Park could get major upgrades under a preliminary plan obtained by Axios that's expected to go before the Des Moines City Council next week.
Why it matters: Many of the first elements of the five-phase plan are necessary for the park to remain in compliance with new Minor League Baseball (MiLB) facility requirements.
- But it also lays out improvements intended to extend the life of the facility for another 30-50 years.
Here are some ideas outlined in a preliminary plan to upgrade Des Moines' Principal Park.
- It's expected to go before the City Council Nov. 15.
Main entry: A redesign would focus the left field corner of the stadium as the key entry point and include a year-round events plaza and a merchandise store.
Drake University students recently launched a new ice hockey club.
Why it matters: It's fun and contributes to the community by adding some new entertainment options.
Around 50 acres of undeveloped land connecting Des Moines and Pleasant Hill will be turned into a new mountain bike park, Polk County Conservation director Rich Leopold told Axios Tuesday.
Why it matters: Recreational advocates say the metro is in need of another public park, as evidenced by a 40% jump in trail usage last year.
- Plus, Copper Creek Mountain Bike Park will also function as a massive rain garden to improve water quality and reduce flooding.
Iowans are die hard college sports fans and Saturday's Cy-Hawk game is expected to be an especially hot matchup as both teams are nationally ranked for the first time ever.
State of play: AP lists the Hawkeyes at #10 after handily defeating the Indiana Hoosiers. The Cyclones sit at #9 following a 16-10 win against UNI.
- Plus: ESPN's "College GameDay" is returning, only boosting the hype and visibility of our athletic teams.
Iowans are trendsetters, didn't you know?
- Gravel biking is the fastest-growing cycling sport right now, and you can thank some kooky Iowans for helping modernize it.
How it started: We all know about RAGBRAI. But what if you could ride across Iowa in just one day? And only on the state's plentiful gravel roads?
- That's the challenge Jeff Kerkove and Mark Stevenson created while working at Europa Cycle and Ski in Cedar Falls.
In 2004, they created TransIowa — a 24-hour, self-supported race across Iowa's gravel roads.
- Kerkove and Stevenson created the routes and rules — giving riders cue sheets to follow twists and turns in the dead of night.
- Back then, there was no such thing as a gravel bike. People hauled out their old Schwinn's, mountain bikes and single speeds, Stevenson told Linh. The average mileage was 320-340 miles.
The intrigue: Because it was one of the first major gravel rides shared online, it went "viral."
- Across the Midwest, people — including organizers from now-famous rides like Unbound in Kansas — took inspiration from TransIowa to run their own races.
What's next: While TransIowa is no more, you can test your perseverance at Iowa Wind and Rock — a 340-mile race starting in Winterset. Woof.
Go deeper: Global Cycling Network featured gravel biking (and Iowa!) in a YouTube video exploring its origins.
The Tokyo Paralympic Games start Tuesday, and Iowans can cheer on five local athletes that are representing Team USA.
- Jessica Heims (400m and discus throw) — The University of Northern Iowa alum, who had her left leg amputated below her knee due to a congenital birth defect, has competed in track and field since she was 10. She's showcasing the Paralympic Games on her TikTok.
- Erin Kerkhoff (100m, 200m, 400m and 4x400m) — The UNI athlete from Coralville is a Drake Relays medalist and winner of the All-Iowa Courage Award. This will be her first Paralympics.
- Justin Phongsavanh (javelin) — An Ankeny native, Phonsavanh found his passion for javelin after a shooting in a McDonald's parking lot left him paralyzed below the waist. Within four years, he was competing in international events.
- Matt Stutzman (archery) — Coming from a family of hunters, Stutzman took up archery as a way to feed his family. The Iowan from Fairfield is competing in his third Paralympic Games.
- Josh Turek (wheelchair basketball) — Turek, of Council Bluffs, competed in his first Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, in 2004. He shoots basketball everyday for an hour and lifts four times a week.
How to watch: Select events will air during prime time on NBC (channel 13), with more coverage on NBCSN, NBCOlympics.com and the Peacock streaming service.
- More info, including a broadcast schedule, is available here.
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