Manchester a town where outdoor adventure is just steps away

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 5:35 PM CDT
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MANCHESTER, Iowa (KCRG) - Manchester is a gateway to the outdoors, especially as the outdoors part of it runs right through this hub of Delaware County.

“There’s a lot that I like about living in Manchester,” Abbie Carper, who has lived in Manchester for four years, said. ” We’re here in this park, our favorite park, called the Dinosaur Park.”

Tirrill Park has a dinosaur – a fake one – that her two young sons and daughter love to look at. This part is just a few blocks northwest of downtown but it adds a true feel of the outdoors in the midst of the city.

“They can play in the play area, come down here, look at the water and walk around and sit here and have a snack here,” Carper said.

Yes, you get the trails but also an aquatic center, complete with detailed slides. As the Maquoketa River cuts across this city of 5,200 people, it’s the setting for so many of the views on the west side of town. Lots of backyards open up to this scenery, where the water meshes with the land.

“We promote the river now more than the past,” Tim Vick, the city manager in Manchester for the past 15 years, said. “The setting is on the banks of the Maquoketa River. The park was donated to the city by Senator Tirrill, a prominent figure years ago.”

As the river winds and weaves a few blocks south, it arrives at the Manchester Whitewater Park, just off Main Street. Come out here as long as it’s 70 degrees or so and you’ll find people tubing, kayaking, and taking in the day.

“What we’ve done with the riverfront is that we thought it will attract kayakers, tubers, and people who want to play in the water,” Vick said. “You have economic development from that because people will want to watch other people playing in the water. One of the things that came out of this that we didn’t have a clue on was that people riding motorcycles coming downtown. The motorcycle trials that come here in August. It’s a slow-speed obstacle course that has drawn a lot of attention.”

There are some cities that can handle “big events,” even cities of this size. Manchester proved this a decade ago when it hosted the Friday night for RAGBRAI in July 2010 – an ideal summer setting that underscored the natural beauty of the city, provided that the Maquoketa River knew its place -- in the banks and not outside of them.

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