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Three abandoned buildings on the Davenport riverfront are scheduled to be razed by Labor Day in preparation for a spring 2010 groundbreaking of Centennial Park's new sprayground.

The Davenport Levee Improvement Commission approved contracts Wednesday for environmental remediation and the three demolitions on a piece of ground just east of Marquette Street and north of the river.

The buildings coming down are the former River City Marine, former Knox Truck Wash and the former AMI Pipe. All have been owned by the city for years, with some serving as storage facilities and temporary offices and the former truck wash a large vehicle evidence storage for the police department.

Environmental Management Services of Davenport was awarded the cleanup bid to clean up significant soil contamination from oil and other materials on the site.

Holst Trucking & Excavating was awarded a provisional bid for the demolition work.

Levee Commission members were concerned by the fact that the company's $41,500 bid was so far below either the estimated cost - $200,000 - or the next lowest bid by a responsible bidder, Valley Construction, at $123,200.

"It doesn't pass the smell test," Mayor Bill Gluba, who chairs the Levee Commission meetings, said, adding that he was worried the bidder may have made an error.

Commissioners voted to accept the bid, contingent on project manager Charlie Heston contacting Holst and ensuring the amount is correct. Heston said he had spoken with Holst previously, and they indicated they were able to charge so little because they have a crusher and a vendor ready to purchase material recovered from the demolitions. However, Heston said he would double check before the bid is officially awarded.

The Centennial Park sprayground is part of Phase III of the multi-million dollar park improvements. Plans for the $2.5 million sprayground incorporate themes evocative of the Mississippi River backwaters, including artistic, colorful waterfowl features, misting fountains and water cannons for kids to play with. It will be located between Priester and Beiderbecke drives, immediately east of Marquette Street.

North of Priester, the brownfield between the railroad and the sprayground would be converted to green space, for passive recreational uses.

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