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.