From Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau – Coralville RAGBRAI 2023 Committee
While RAGBRAI blew through Coralville, both figuratively and literally, on July 28, 2023, the event did leave more than just a good impression on the riders. With funds raised through a contribution from RAGBRAI, sponsorships, beverage and food sales, and merchandise, the Coralville RAGBRAI committee was able to raise $56,800. The funds are split with a $28,400 donation to the Iowa City Community School District Foundation and $28,400 towards upgrades at S.T. Morrison Park. The check presentation to the City of Coralville Parks and Recreation Department was held at the City Hall on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. A presentation to the School District Foundation will occur later in November.
“Despite the adverse weather conditions of the day that greatly decreased food and beverage sales, we are extremely proud to be able to cover expenses and make these significant contributions to our community,” said Kelly Hayworth, Coralville City Administrator and Chair of the Coralville RAGBRAI committee. “It speaks volumes about the number of volunteers who helped out and the local businesses who supported our efforts with financial contributions.”
July 28, 2023, was an extremely hot day for the RAGBRAI bike ride into Coralville with the heat index reaching 112 degrees. A sudden storm approached the city at approximately 8:30 pm sending all riders in the public campground and outdoor concert area at ST Morrison Park to seek shelter in Coralville City Hall, the Coralville Rec Center, Northwest Junior High, Kirkwood Elementary, and Coralville Central Elementary. The headlining concert was canceled.
Early in the planning process, the committee had identified the School District Foundation as the primary benefactor of any funds raised by the overnight stop. Leaders say the hospitality of the schools affirmed the decision.
“Our schools are a major source of pride in our community and make us who we are,” said Kelly Hayworth, Coralville City Administrator and Chair of the Coralville RAGBRAI committee. “And when the storm blew through on the night of our RAGBRAI stop, our schools immediately stepped up and offered shelter to the riders. School district employees stayed the night in the schools to help out.”
A 5th Street civic campus master plan was completed in 2022 which included upgrades to S.T. Morrison Park. Plans include reconstruction of the existing pond to include a new shape, stormwater enhancements, boardwalks over the water, and a new center fountain. The space also includes a new shelter with event stage overlooking a lawn gathering space, food truck plaza, play area, lake overlook with game tables and seating, and trails winding through and connecting other areas of the park.
Photo: Coralville RAGBRAI Executive Planning Committee presents a check to the City of Coralville on November 14, 2023.