Episode 8 - Building a Boathouse

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In the eighth episode of West Side Stories, Allison speaks with Jodie Weeks, Sally Ortgies and Ryan Penning about the exciting developments that are going to begin soon at Raccoon River Park. A Boathouse will be built beside Blue Heron Lake that will offer several new services to the public. They discuss Boathouse operations, the construction timeline, and future amenities.

Guest Bios

Jodie Weeks - Recreation Program/Facility Supervisor
Jodie grew up in Osage, IA, and attended Wartburg College in Waverly, IA, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Leisure Services. She has been a Recreation Program Supervisor for the South Suburban Park District in Littleton, CO, and a Recreation Coordinator for the City of Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department. For nearly 20 years, Jodie has been a Recreation Program/Facility Supervisor in the West Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department. She supervises the Raccoon River Park Nature Lodge, Archery Facility, and Dog Park. She also coordinates the department's travel programs, several special events, and various classes and camps. Jodie lives in Ankeny with her husband, two daughters, and their Australian Labradoodle puppy.      

Sally Ortgies - Director of Parks and Recreation
Sally began her career in the parks and recreation field in 1989 when she first interned with the West Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department. She then advanced through the department, becoming a Landscape Designer, Landscape Architect, and Superintendent of Parks. She now serves as the Director of Parks and Recreation. Sally earned Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and Bachelor of Science-Horticulture degrees from Iowa State University. Sally lives in West Des Moines with her husband and MinPin dog. Their daughter lives in Des Moines.


Ryan Penning - Recreation Superintendent
Ryan has over 12 years of experience in the parks and recreation field. From 2006-2018, he worked for the Ankeny Parks and Recreation Department. He began his career in Ankeny as a Recreation Coordinator, then became a Recreation Supervisor-Athletics, and finally a Recreation Superintendent. Ryan became the Recreation Superintendent in West Des Moines in June of 2018. He holds a BA degree in Leisure, Youth, and Human Services from the University of Northern Iowa. Ryan lives in Ankeny with his wife, three children, and English Bulldog.


Like what you are hearing? Want to suggest other topics? Have further questions?
Email Allison Ullestad, the
 West Side Stories host, at allison.ullestad@wdm.iowa.gov.

The views and opinions expressed on the West Side Stories podcast are entirely those of the host and guests who are entirely responsible for all show content, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the City of West Des Moines officials or staff. This podcast is presented and made public AS ENTERTAINMENT, in the hope that it will be entertaining and informative to the audience. It is not intended to promote any specific lifestyle, belief, religion, political affiliation or other personal practice.