Credit Island Park will officially open today for the first time since April 19, when Mississippi River flooding devastated the 420-acre recreational hotbed.
Meanwhile, plans for the long-range future of one of the oldest city parks are set to be unveiled at Wednesday’s Davenport City Council meeting.
Shortly after the floodwaters receded — leaving behind a wrecked golf course, tons of driftwood and ruined park infrastructure — aldermen and the mayor called for the creation of a Credit Island Task Force. The group was asked to start with a “blank slate” and consider ways to better protect the park from flooding and create more year-round use.
Ideas including eliminating golf, seeking designation as a national historic site due to the history as a War of 1812 battlefield, opening the causeway leading to the island to allow water to flow back into the silted-in slough, creating an RV campground and a host of other ideas were on the table.
On Friday, members of the 20-member task force said recommendations have been reached after eight official meetings and dozens of informal subcommittee meetings.
Members were mum on specific details but said many interests will be served. Implementing any of the recommendations will require City Council action.
“The recommendation will include multiple uses that are family friendly,” said task force member Molly Arp Newell, a professional geologist who works for EnviroNET. “We’re trying to get the park used year-round and utilized by residents not just of Davenport, but from farther around. Personally, I think it’s a well-crafted package of recommendations that allow maximum use of the park while preserving very special natural features and historical attributes.”
One of the keys to building consensus was breaking the task force into smaller focus groups, Arp Newell said.
These included groups looking at team sports, dredging and marina development, flood protection, a biking, hiking and cross country group, golf, history, habitat conservation and all-terrain vehicles.
“All of these different focus groups brought something to the table,” she said. “We worked to minimize conflicts and tried to arrive at a cohesive recommendation. I think that was accomplished.”
Charlie Heston, a city planner and one of two Davenport staff members assigned to the task force, agreed.
“I think it was a useful process,” he said. “The task force members took a conservative approach and considered flooding, budgetary and historical constraints. All of those are issues, and some very serious ones.”
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Tory Brecht can be contacted at (563) 383-2329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
golf course remains closed
Although Credit Island Park will officially open today — including hosting a high school cross country meet — golfers won’t be able to tee it up on the island until next spring at the earliest.
Traffic limitations are posted and the lodge is closed until further renovations can be completed, according to city staff.
Two park restrooms are open until the arrival of freezing weather, and two playgrounds are renovated and open. Three park shelters may be used but will not be available for rental until next season.
The park will be the setting for the 2nd annual Pioneer Meet of Champions, a cross country event today hosted by Rock Island Alleman High School. Other schools participating include Davenport Central, Moline, Rock Island, United Township, Streator, Sherrard, Dunlap and Erie-Prophetstown.