On a perfect afternoon, state and local leaders took the ceremonial first step toward returning camping to Lake Manawa State Park.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources held a groundbreaking for the new $3.3 million, 40 full-service site campground west of the beach at the Council Bluffs Park.

"This will be a wonderful campground," said DNR Parks Bureau Chief Todd Coffelt. "We're excited."

During remarks to crowd of about 40 people, Coffelt noted Iowa is celebrating 100 years of state parks. The milestone has been marked in a different way than expected -- as with everything, the COVID-19 pandemic led to event cancelations and changing plans -- but it's been successful nonetheless. Coffelt said during the first six months of the year, parks saw about a million more visitors compared to the same timeframe a year ago.

Coffelt and others noted the new campground has been years in the making. The old, outdated campground at Manawa closed in November 2015.

The campground will be west on the lake of the beach, allowing easy access to not only the beach, but the adjacent Dream Playground, as well.

According to project information and specifications from the DNR, the campground will consist entirely of sites with water, electric and sewer hookups available for recreational vehicles, with the sites also offering concrete slabs. The grounds will have a concrete parking lot, along with a bathroom with shower area.

And the location provides a space for great views, Braddy said.

"Beautiful sunsets. And sunrises when you get up in the morning," he told the Nonpareil. "It's going to be an absolute gem."

Check out the full article from The Daily Nonpareil here.