LATEST: The funding is now in place for the Ferris wheel that will be built at Modern Woodmen Park.

The Quad-Cities River Bandits announced approval of a five-year loan from The National Bank on Wednesday. The bank and Main Street Amusements, LLC, the new company that will oversee amusement rides at the ballpark, have agreed to a $995,000 loan, which is scheduled to be paid back over the next five years. The City of Davenport is not a party to the loan.

Davenport's Ferris wheel plan spinning forward

EARLIER REPORT: A 90-foot-high Ferris wheel planned for Modern Woodmen Park with 20 gondolas and programmable LED lighting still needs a place to sit.

Before the end of this month, the city of Davenport is expected to select one of four engineering companies that submitted proposals to recommend where the attraction will stand in left field, taking utilities and flood protection into consideration.

“It should be pretty straight forward,” project engineer Tom Leabhart said Tuesday. “It is deciding on the exact spot, make sure we miss utilities.

“We do need to address the flood. Can the electrical services be raised? Do the workings of the wheel need to be surrounded or does it need to be removed if we know (a flood) is coming? We’ll have to consider that.”

Also, ease of access during games and on non-game days also has to be considered, according to the city’s request for proposals.

Companies that submitted proposals are Bracke-Hayes-Miller-Mahon of Moline, Ament Design Inc. of Cedar Rapids, Missman Inc. of Rock Island and Landmark Engineering Group Inc. of East Moline.

 A contract with the engineering consultant is expected to be part of the city council agenda in early April. The request for proposals has site work beginning April 29, with Ferris wheel construction to begin June 1.

The city council approved a lease amendment in February with Main Street Baseball, owner of the Quad-Cities River Bandits. Main Street is financing the purchase of the 90-foot ride.

The attraction will offer plenty of colors with the lights, said Larry Breitenstein, director of sales for Chance Rides, the company that is manufacturing the Ferris wheel for Main Street. The 6,000 programmable lights can have Fourth of July or Halloween patterns, among others.

Breitenstein wouldn’t disclose the paint scheme for the Ferris wheel, saying that was up to Main Street managing partner Dave Heller. The River Bandits’ team colors include red, black and gold. The gondolas will hold up to six adults or eight children and have high-backed seats and automatic closing doors. Similar Ferris wheels stand on Santa Monica Pier in California and Pleasure Pier in Galveston, Texas.

“It will be a great addition to the riverfront,” he said.

The location of the Ferris wheel still must be approved by the city council, Historic Preservation Commission, Design Review Board and Levy Improvement Commission. Attendance at those meetings as well as soil borings as part of the site determination were specifically mentioned in the request for proposals.

(15) comments

Through the Looking Glass

And Mailin's obnoxious spending streak continues! Cut public safety and build an amusement ride. Cut some more and build a bridge to an underwater park at credit island. The list goes on and on. The citizens of this community continue to ask for BASIC infrastructure, streets, cops, fire fighters, and what do they get? Gimmicks and propaganda! Remember this come election time…it’s time to flush the stool!


I'm curious how long it will take this loan to get defaulted on...there's no way that thing generates $1,000,000 over five years and minor league teams don't make nearly enough money to pay that kind of note!


I stop by these forums from time to time but never stay long because it is always the same chronic complainers believing their opinion is superior. This is between a private investor and a bank. They plan on adding zip lines, a carousel, and bounce houses along with the ferris wheel and other attractions. It will be open 7 days a week, game or no game, and is IN ADDITION to the River Bandits team. If it fails, the tangible assets will be taken and sold by the bank and you can say I told you so. I just have a gut feeling that deep down inside that is what you are hoping for. Not that long ago Davenport was the largest community in the nation without a movie theater, without the Fox network and in real danger of becoming the largest market in the nation without a minor league baseball team. Luckily attitudes like yours do not prevail.


Now let Duck City Bistro or Heart of America turn the sky bridge into a restaurant and I will be satisfied!


I am thrilled to have a ferris wheel on the Mississippi! We have a gorgeous riverfront; making activities available will enhance our city as a destination from which to enjoy the river!


What a great idea and wonderful attraction to further develop and add to the already growing downtown. The ballpark is already one of the best in the minor leagues, and this adds to it. Glad it will become a reality!


I would definitely think the Corps would be involved in discharging fill into the floodplain per Clean Water Act Section 404. This would require some level of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which would add additional costs and time. This is a very curious project......


Jeffrey, actually yes I have, thanks so much for your concern with how I spend my time. :)

Jeffrey Smith

Thanks for following up. Most people come on here and complain and don't take action with the council.


Nothing will make everyone happy and for some nothing will make them happy. But they will remain at home complaining to their computer instead of attending a meeting to provide feedback or volunteer their time to serve.


Lower taxes for business that make improvement to property. Fix the pot holes. Cut unnecessary city staff. And the common sense list could go on and on. But a ferris wheel-
yep, will be a small thrill for a short time but if anyone who thinks this is going to make any vast 'improvement' in the city better test the city water supply. They keep looking and hoping for that one 'quick fix' without facing the hard choices that really need to be made.


And they will be voted back in this November without any opposition. Poeple will complain on the computer, but that is it. Go to the Just Cruisin 2 blog and see if those like minded people will listen to you and try to offer a new group of people to tell us what to do.

credit island

Does the United States Corps of Engineers have to sign off on building in the flood plain? Can Main Street get flood insurance for this thing? Who has liability? Does the City of Davenport have any liability at all here? Do the engineering firms who design this have any liability here? Does the construction company that erects this have any liability?
Just asking flood plain related questions.
Who makes the flood related decisions as to whether this should operate at any particular time, flood pending or not pending? Does the City of Davenport have any libiality in that decision making process?
Just asking. Credit Island's been through a lot of floods. Come see the eagles.


Perfectly horrible idea.

Jeffrey Smith

Have you bothered voicing your opinion to the groups mentioned in the article, as well as voicing your opinion to the city council?

Clue: it's how you get this "horrible idea" stopped. Not in a local news article.

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