The Week in Social rounds up the best of Iowa’s uplifting stories, exciting initiatives and fun events from all 99 counties discovered through social media. In a time where every bit of good news is cherished, this series is devoted to being a fun, lighthearted way to stay informed about Iowa’s good news.
It’s officially official — Des Moines is home to the nation’s largest skate park. The Lauridsen Skate Park opened to the public last Friday after city and county officials cut the ribbon. More importantly, the wheels of skateboards, bikes and scooters hit the ground, finally making the park a reality for the state’s adventure sports enthusiasts.
Eighteen-year-old Drake Plascencia, a high school senior from West Des Moines, was more than impressed. "This is insane to call my hometown skate park," Plascencia said to the Des Moines Register. "I live here, and this is my skate park. It's insane."
Around 300 people attended the grand opening event on Friday. The park was open to the public over the weekend, but will be closed this week as the skate park preps for the Dew Tour, which will start on May 20.
Ryan “ARCY” Christenson is a world-renowned graffiti artist who recently created a one-of-a-kind outdoor art piece in Jefferson. Placed on the rooftops of participating buildings around Jefferson’s historic Square, the art is only viewable from the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower’s observation deck.
Using his 70-color spray paint palette, Christenson was drawn to the challenge of painting a mural on a rooftop — something he’d never done before.
“Anybody can put a mural on the side of a building, not many people can put them on the top of a roof,” said Deb McGinn, who was part of the group responsible for bringing ARCY to Jefferson.
ARCY finished the mural, which depicts a typical Iowa farmer, in under one week. He also completed a mural in Dubuque which explores the theme of the city’s historical relationship to baseball, a nod to the MLB game which will be played in Dubuque County in August.
This week, the observation deck 12 stories over Green County have been packed with art lovers watching Ryan "ARCY" Christenson's art come to life. https://t.co/VySyiKS97Z— KCCI News (@KCCINews) May 4, 2021
Slowly but surely, the U.S. is bouncing back from COVID-19. Though the country as a whole is making good progress, some states are moving to the front of the pack in terms of COVID-19 recovery. According to WalletHub, Iowa is one of those states.
WalletHub, which provides free credit scores and reports and other financial tips, ranked Iowa the #2 state in the country making the quickest recovery from COVID-19. The site ranked each state in terms of COVID health, leisure and travel and economy and labor market, with Iowa achieving the second-highest total score of 73.58 behind only South Dakota.
A housing project that provides safe, affordable housing, education and continued support for youths transitioning out of foster care broke ground in Des Moines last Wednesday.
A collaboration between Ames-based YSS and Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), the $9.2 million Sixth Avenue Flats project will house young adults who will work to obtain training and associates degrees from DMACC. The building will allow for 82 tenants in the more than 41,000-square-foot-space.
“That makes this project not just an apartment building, not just a home, not just a place that provides value to the neighborhood, but this really is a project that provides hope and opportunity to people who in the past have been quiet and silenced,” said Jack Hatch of Hatch Development Group LLC, one of the groups working on the project.
The affordable housing real estate investment firm WNC Inc., the Iowa Finance Authority, the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the city of Des Moines, the Polk County Housing Trust Fund and Iowa Trust and Savings Bank all worked to make the project a reality.
We are honored to be apart of the Sixth Avenue Flats project - a housing project in partnership with @weareYSS to provide housing, supportive services, education and opportunity to youth who have aged out of foster care. @WNC_Inc @ihycdsm @pchtf @DesMoinesGov @DMACCNews pic.twitter.com/iiOUGMsifP— IFA (@IowaFinance) May 5, 2021