The area around the historic Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake is known as the "Surf District" and when there is a show going on there, the area is always hopping.

With or without events happening, business is booming in the area, and to keep up with increased traffic, KIMT reports that two new restaurants are in the works this year. In addition, news broke this week on the launch of a feasibility study for the possible addition of a new boutique hotel.

The proposal would qualify for state funding as a "Destination Iowa" project, further boosting tourism. The feasibility study is expected to take 60 days and is being conducted by Patek Hospitality Consultants of Sussex, Wisconsin.

Mike Ferris
Mike Ferris

Not only do people come for concerts at the Surf Ballroom, but because it's home to the gravesite of the late Buddy Holly, who was killed in a plane crash after a concert there along with Richie Valens and the Big Bopper, it's also become a place to visit the site of the accident that took their lives on "The Day the Music Died."

Google Maps
Google Maps

A solemn occasion but one that has become an important commemoration for tourists and music fans alike.

The Clear Lake Mirror Reporter says the Destination Iowa program was announced just this week by Governor Kim Reynolds.

Destination Iowa is a $100 million investment to bolster the quality of life in Iowa’s communities and attract visitors and new residents to the state. The new effort will provide grants to help communities move forward on transformational, shovel-ready attractions. Cities, counties, nonprofits and other organizations can apply for Destination Iowa grants from four separate funds: Economically Significant Development, Outdoor Recreation, Tourism Attraction and Creative Placemaking.


Clear Lake city leaders think they are in good enough financial standing, being nearly debt-free, to count on the funding to make this boutique hotel project happen. There are several other unique factors they believe are working in their favor.

We’re not going to get much help except for these kinds of unique, once-in-a-lifetime, generational kinds of opportunities.   We think we can compete on the merits of the project— it’s a National Historic Landmark, its National Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status, an attraction well beyond Iowa and the Midwest, reaching internationally

There are still very few specifics available as it is still in the feasibility study phase.

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