Davenport ballpark to get Ferris wheel, carousel and zip line

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Updated:  The Davenport, Iowa City Council approved construction of a Ferris wheel, carousel and zip line at Modern Woodmen Park.

The council approved a lease amendment that would allow the River Bandits to fund construction of the new attractions.

Plans include putting a Ferris wheel outside the park past left field, a carousel and other kid-friendly activities along the right field line and a zip line that will run from right field to left field.

Dave Heller, managing partner of the company that owns the team, said they hope to attract people to the extra entertainment options before games and on non-game days.

Construction could begin in April 2013 and the Ferris wheel could begin operating this summer.

Original story from February 13, 2013:

Davenport aldermen are poised to approve plans for a million-dollar, 90-foot tall Ferris wheel at Modern Woodmen Park. It's expected to go on top of the outfield berm to avoid flood water.

River Bandits owner Dave Heller will front the cost of the project. The city will reimburse him at $220,000 over five years. That is money from the team's lease designated for stadium improvements.

After city council approval, the River Bandits hope to have everything up and running by June.

The crack of the bat is a part of baseball tradition. It goes along with decades of fun in Davenport. Now, that experience could become even grander.

"I think that would be a good idea," said baseball fan James Salter. "That's a good way to attract even more fans."

During Wednesday's Levee Improvement Commission, members endorsed a plan to put a Ferris wheel, carousel and zip line rides in or near the historic ballpark.

"I think it's going to be a great way to bring people together," said River Bandits owner Dave Heller. "Bring them downtown and provide families with an affordable family-friendly way of spending an evening in the summertime together."

Once a part of bygone days, Ferris wheels are enjoying a revival across the country. From Navy Pier in Chicago to a new wheel in Seattle, they make quite a statement. It's just the kind of fun that could come close to home in the Quad Cities.

"I think it would bring a younger crowd to it," said baseball fan David Sirovica. "People with children, it will give the kids something to do."

On a sunny day in Davenport, the idea seems to hit a home run. And building the Ferris wheel on the berm will keep it safe from any high water headaches.

"Anything that's going to bring out the color and bring out the people to enjoy the riverfront," added baseball fan Bob Huber. "We've got to take advantage of the riverfront in the Quad Cities."

It's an amusing idea that seems ready to get off the ground in Davenport.