A Ferris wheel behind left field of Modern Woodmen Park could be taking people up over the riverfront by mid-June, making the ballyard a destination even when the Quad-Cities River Bandits are on the road.

The Davenport City Council approved a lease amendment Wednesday with Main Street Baseball, owner of the River Bandits, which will finance the purchase of the 90-foot ride. The city’s Levee Improvement Commission endorsed the move earlier in the day.

Karl Rhomberg, who sits on the levee commission called it Davenport’s “answer to the Eiffel Tower.” He was somewhat concerned by what was presented.

“This is far from what I was expecting,” he said. “I hope it can be done in the most aesthetic way possible in respect to historic LeClaire Park and the bandshell.”

Main Street managing partner David Heller made a presentation to the levee commission that included plans for a Ferris wheel out past left field, a carousel along the right field line where bounce houses and other kid-friendly activities will be located, as well as a zipline that will run from right field to left field.

“It is as beautiful a ball park as you’ll find anywhere in the country,” Heller told the levee commission. “It is not just a beautiful stadium and place to develop major league baseball players, but a focal point and gathering place for the community.

“We’ll get people for baseball,” he said. “I want to get them before games, on non-game days, all summer long.”

The Ferris wheel will be located on the left field flood protection berm. A concrete pad will be laid and the stadium’s fence will be moved back. Heller said the fence could be pushed back 10 feet to accommodate the ride.

The concrete pad could be laid in April. The Ferris wheel could by delivered in early June and ready to operate by the middle of the month.

Wanting to provide more attractions at the stadium, and considering that Quad-Citians had to drive up to three hours — to Des Moines or the Chicago suburbs — for an amusement park, Heller began exploring the possibility of a Ferris wheel. He learned Credit Island once had an amusement park, and that a Ferris wheel was suggested as part of RiverVision.

“That is what gained momentum as a draw,” he said.

Many minor league teams have small payments — some as low as $1 — as part of their lease agreements for municipal stadiums, Heller said, but they don’t provide for upgrades to those facilities. Main Street’s lease agreement with the stadium is for $300,000, with that money to be used for annual improvements to the stadium.

The $1 million pricetag for the Ferris wheel will be paid for over five years through the lease agreement approved by the city council.

(9) comments


Yesterday it was his private money building the thing, today it looks like something entirely different. Of course he's a democrat, that party has perfected getting the taxpayers to pay for everything. I don't live in Davenport, it isn't going to affect me, but I sincerely doubt a Ferris Wheel is going to make Davenport or the ballpark a "destination". So I will sit back and laugh at your foolishness and cry over the insanity here in Illinois, where our democrats have completely bankrupted the state for the next fifty years, and the country as well with the imbecile in DC running the free world into the ground.


"Wanting to provide more attractions at the stadium, and considering that Quad-Citians had to drive up to three hours — to Des Moines or the Chicago suburbs — for an amusement park."

So you're comparing a small ferris wheel to Six Flags, lol. Yeah I'm sure people will come for miles to ride the ferris wheel.


Davenport passed on the I Wireless center and the Newton Racetrack, which have both been wildly successful, instead we get two half empty parking ramps, a run down boat, a skybridge that gets vandalized, and now a ferris wheel. Sounds like a fair trade.


Please, please tell me it won't look like that thing they had in the paper a couple of months ago (the buckets were shaped like baseballs). Seriously, I believe that is what Mr. Rhomberg is referring to in the article (aesthetics). I know the picture has multi-colored buckets but I just want to be sure it doesn't look like the one that was in the qctimes a while back..... here http://tinyurl.com/cmunb8h

I am 100% for a ferris wheel on the river front but only if is classy, not gawdy and gimmicky. Please think about it!


Won't this be real pretty right near the "Flying Pig Casino"! Fuzzy liability, questionable financing, unknown maintenance, environmental location, and who really owns it? That's the Davenport way. Shove 'er through.


I just investigated this Dave Heller, and he is VERY heavily into real estate development, and also buying and selling properties. Not to mention a HUGE political supporter, Democrats (I'm democratic, no problem with that) to be exact, he was heavily involved in getting many members into Congress in fact. Also this man went to college and has degrees in POLITICS, he's good. He knows what he wants and gets what he wants.
Gee, who's to say he doesn't bail out of here and live us with the bill of this ferris wheel. I don't know about you, but the article was hokey, the $ doesn't add up, $700K difference between $300K. What if he decides to pull up stakes and leave the River Bandits and Davenport before this is all paid for? And why weren't we, the taxpayers allowed (as usual) to vote on something like this? Also, after this thing is put up, who exactly will maintain it? With what $ too? And what if it does flood? Oops, then it will have the effect of, "gee looks like we need to build a flood wall, and also something else so people can get to it, and on and on and on $$$$$$. The stupid City as usual never thinks these things out. The levee Commission needs to look deeper too. I would look FAR deeper into the background of this guy, who also might be in someone's or vice versa back pocket, and you know who I mean.


Where have you been? David Heller and Bob Herrfeldt have owned the team since 2007. They are not strangers nor unknown to the couincil. When they wanted to buy the team they were thoroughly vetted. The original lease required the city pay for just about anything the team wanted. The council has wisely added amendments that have controlled the amount of stadium improvements. The fact is other minor league ballparks have these types of amenities (see Corpus Christi) and the lease requires the city to fund it. The point of this is that there is something new and better every year for the fans. It is not a coincidence that attendance has more than doubled since they took over for Krause. At the end of the day these add to the city's assets and in 10 years, rather than make $12 million (or more in improvements just to keep up) the stadium will be up-to-date and paid for rather than having to scramble to keep up with the Joneses. This is what vision looks like. Great job, council, great job David and Bob!


The lease amendment is available on the city's website. Right now the team is responsible for maintenance at the ball park. The lease amendment states that the team will be responsible for the maintenance of the new items just like they are for the current stadium. If you read the article carefull it says that the ferris wheel is going to be built on the flood wall out of the flood plain. Therefore it will be accessible even during a flood. The "stupid city" does a much better job of thinking things out than you want to admit. How cowardly of you to use innuendo that someone "might be in someone's .... back pocket. Read the agenda item and the background material in the packet. Educate your self before you attempt to explain something. Finally, we live in a representative democracy. You vote on your representatives. You don't get to vote on everything. If you have a problem with it, then run for office.


I was fine until I got to the end of the article. Another recipe for disaster if they (the ball team decide to jump ship and leave the area). Guess who will have to pay off the remainder of the bill? WE the taxpayers.
Also, nice idea, not such a bright idea when it comes to placing it downtown, and also in the Midwest where the weather is so short where it's nice. One, flooding (and of course the City will be liable for protecting the ballpark AGAIN when it floods. Two, not many months where it is viable and worthwhile to use, especially a ferris wheel with our weather and also a zip line too. Both couldn't be used during lightning unless I am wrong.
More nice ideas for ANOTHER city that is bigger, NOT HERE. Frankly I'm surprised it wasn't greedy Gluba's padded back pocket idea.

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