The first step toward a Ferris wheel towering over the Davenport riverfront will be hiring a specialized firm to design a base it will rest on at Modern Woodmen Park.

The city will either engage directly with an engineering firm or put out a request for proposals for the project, Public Works Director Mike Clarke said. A bid process isn’t required for professional services but might still be done.

“We would feel more comfortable working with a company with successful experience, so we are going to want to tap some of that expertise,” Clarke said. “It doesn’t require competitive bidding, but it is our practice for best prices.”

The Davenport City Council amended Main Street Baseball’s lease for Modern Woodmen Park last week to finance the cost of the $1 million amusement. Main Street will operate a 90-foot tall Ferris wheel at the ballpark as well as a carousel and zip line.

Construction of a base must take into account weight of the wheel and wind load, among other factors. Chance Rides, of Wichita, Kan., has provided the necessary data for the base design.

“Nobody is guessing,” said David Heller, president of Main Street Baseball.

The Ferris wheel’s location behind left field also requires amenities to accommodate visitors. Heller already has said the outside fence will be moved back from the berm.

“We have to work with the city on the design of how we are going to set this thing up,” he said. “There will be lines at some point for people who want to ride the wheel, and it will need an enclosed facility for the computer system that operates the wheel.”

Clarke visited the ballpark Thursday to familiarize himself with the area where the wheel will be located. The location of the Ferris wheel and the base won’t compromise the berm.

“In no way will anything we build be allowed to harm the flood protection,” he said. “We won’t breach the flood protection.”

The Ferris wheel project will be submitted to the city’s Design Review Board for approval and an advisory presentation will be made to the Historic Preservation Commission, City Administrator Craig Malin said.

(16) comments


Yes and who will pay for this "grand idea" when this guy decides to bail out of Davenpork before it's paid off? We cannot afford this, what part of "do not spend money on frivolous things do you not understand" in this economy? Sure we all will be running downtown to ride a ferris wheel, how many months out of the year? And you that want it "really bad", are you also looking forward to your property taxes rising once again? But, wait, those of you that are so for this, can afford the ever rising taxes here. Fools.
Downtown has tried for years to become something better than the DUMP it is. It floods, it has MANY registered sex offenders living down there. Oh but let's build a ferris wheel, and "hope" it brings more people to the downtown. The luster will wear off VERY quickly, another FLOP thanks to Gluba and Malin Kings of flops here in the city of overspending on stupid ideas!


I think this is a great idea and it sounds like they are on the right track by looking for a firm with experience for the design and construction of the base. This should help attract people to the riverfront and ball games. Even if it does not make a dime or has the need of a subsidy, I think it's worth it. To me, this is no different than developing and maintaining a ball diamond or trail system, which are both what any city should do for the enjoyment of it's citizens....this is a much better use of funds than money spent for a bridge to no-where or to buy a casino business that is full of risk.


They're not putting in a ferris wheel, it's a vertical roulette wheel!

Arc Angel

I can taste the mayflies already, right after the flood!


Does the ferris wheel cost 46 million bucks too? Maybe we could get the "senior city " discount.

Tyler Guth

They'll need engineers to design the pad, but a 90 foot wheel is essentially a plug and play operation once that's done.

DNR does not have jurisdiction over land already used for generally the same purposes.

Subjectively, this sounds lovely, and I am excited about it. Some of you need to be more city proud, city excited, and occasionally visionary.


Is this it? The million may be just for the engineering!


Really? You need to hire a firm to come up with a plan? SPEND SPEND SPEND. Go on line and look at some Ferris wheels at amusement parks, pick one and go with it. It's free and won't cost an arm and a leg for the tax payers of Davenport. Oh, wait, some one in the city administration must have ties to a design firm!


This will have a cause and effect. City sewers will need a considerable expansion. When the city continues to flush such large sums of money down the toilet, something is going to plug up and over-flow. Has this passed DNR approval? Might the 'wheel' scare the fish in the river? So many un-answered questions.


Question: What goes round and round, but never travels anywhere?

Answer: The City of Davenport.




I think this is a great idea.

I haven't been to a River Bandits games in years but I will be visiting this attraction either during a ball game or other times.

This is a real attraction that will bring families to Davenpor, and I'm from Rock Island.


Well of course you say it, because YOU don't have to pay for it with high property taxes on your home like WE DO!


It would be interesting to see how the River Bandit's lease was "altered"? Are they going to pay higher rent or do they get a Ferris Wheel at taxpayer expense? Will the Ferris wheel operate all summer or only during home baseball games? Hopefully a follow-up article will provide these details.


All of this information was in the first article. You can read the lease amendment in its entirety on the city website. In summary, yes, the city is buying a ferris wheel. No, the rent does not go up because the city is required to make improvements under the terms of the lease. It will operate all summer not just during games. This is a good addition to a great city asset. Enjoy it.

pta mom


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