Before the Riverfront Improvement Commission votes on whether to recommend a lease for a new miniature golf course by Modern Woodmen Park, the Quad-Cities River Bandits and the city of Davenport have several questions to answer.
The commission, along with the Parks and Recreation advisory board, held a special joint meeting Tuesday to tour the site before discussion continues at its Oct. 24 meeting.
Finance Director Brandon Wright said the city was looking for some form of consensus from the two bodies before the city invests time and resources to filling in details for the plan.
"What we're looking for is a general direction from the two groups, whether they want to go down that road, and then we would begin working on those details and bring everything back ultimately for the committee to review," Wright said.
The River Bandits ownership group has proposed the construction of an 19,500 square-foot, ADA-compliant 18-hole miniature golf course behind the Ferris wheel and scoreboard at Modern Woodmen Park.
The park would be funded in its entirety by the River Bandits ownership group, but the city would lease the space for it and retain ownership.
River Bandits co-owner Dave Heller said during last month's commission meeting that the proposal would cost around $600,000 and taxpayers would not bear any cost. The proposed site is not being utilized and Heller has said the ownership group would bear all the maintenance costs.
If approved, the course could be up and running by next spring.
Heller spoke at length about wanting to create a year-round attraction by the ballpark, which he hoped would also translate to increasing interest in baseball.
Because of the location of the course, it would require raising the dirt by 6 feet. Co-owner Roby Smith said a 6-foot rod iron fence would be added on top of that.
Mike Clark, the assistant general manager of amusements, said an accessible ramp would be eyed in the middle of the course from the bike path to the Ferris wheel to create an access point for maintenance.
One wrinkle to the golf course plan is the location of fairly new storm and sanitary sewer lines that run through the prospective site.
"Both locations will still have a manhole and will be themed into the golf course," Clark said. "The manhole will be raised up to the grade, and we will leave an accessible path for a truck or any city equipment that would need to access or do any maintenance to the sewer system itself."
Commissioner Bill Ashton said that as an engineer, there was no way he would be put something there.
After receiving feedback from the community about the proposal, Alderwoman Rita Rawson, 5th Ward, said if the idea of miniature of golf was something residents of Davenport wanted, all of the issues with sewer lines and infrastructure could be avoided by looking at another site on the riverfront.
As to the nature of the lease and revenue generated from the course, questions still remain.
Last month, Heller said the course would not recoup the costs quickly and on Tuesday, Smith said that results from a feasibility study would not be provided and only talked about in general terms after commissioner Karl Rhomberg asked.
When Rhomberg inquired about advertising and naming rights, Smith said those remain an option.
"I don't know if we thought that far ahead, but if it's a good idea and people want to do that, we can look at doing that or we don't have to," Smith said. "I would imagine a lot of advertising, but we'll look into that."
With one-third of the course falling on Modern Woodmen Park's boundaries, Heller said last month that he imagined it would require amending the current lease like it did when the Ferris wheel was added.
But from the city's perspective, Wright said it would like to look at creating a separate lease for the course.
"All of the terms of the ballpark lease would not apply to this area," Wright said. "It would be completely separate and different."