1st time host Rock Valley starts readying for RAGBRAI - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

1st time host Rock Valley starts readying for RAGBRAI

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ROCK VALLEY, Iowa (KTIV) -

In the 42 years that the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa has been taking place, Siouxland cities have been chosen as hosts plenty of times.

However, Rock Valley, Iowa is preparing to be an overnight stop - and the starting point - for the first time.

When Rock Valley, Iowa applied to be a stop on this year's RAGBRAI bike race, they knew what they would need to put on a successful event.

"Some of the main criteria: having the green space necessary to host all the people, what type of amenities you have," said City Administrator Tom Van Maaten.

In terms of space for everybody to stay in town, Rock Valley has the amenities necessary, namely, River's Bend Campground and the Sports Complex.  But , as the city prepares to host the starting point of the RAGBRAI route, they face plenty of challenges.

"Where exactly we're going to put all the campers, all the tents, where all the booths are going to go with the vending of the food, with 25 thousand people coming to town," said Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo.

With that many people in Rock Valley, the city has filled 20 committees to handle everything from entertainment to safety.

"It really takes a town to be involved and really embrace this opportunity, because it is an opportunity to showcase our community," he said.

The city is still taking inventory of all the green space available for RAGBRAI, but officials are confident that they'll be able to house everybody, at least for one night.

The town will meet with RAGBRAI officials regularly until the race to ensure that the event goes well.

"We're really excited to have RAGBRAI coming here to show off our city," he said. “Hopefully we'll all be able to rejoice in a well-planned and appreciated event here in Rock Valley."

River's Bend campground will be one of the areas where participants will be able to camp during RAGBRAI, but they town  is looking to expand the campsite.  They would like to add cabins to the shores of the fishing pond.

What's holding up the project is a lack of land.  An expansion to the site would be a welcome addition to an already-strong campground.

"It's a great campground, hooked to town with bike trails and walking trails, and we're really hoping to showcase that off," said Rock Valley mayor Kevin Van Otterloo.

If the plan moves forward, it would ultimately have to be approved by the Rock Valley City Council.

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