Dubuque looking at major Mississippi River development plan

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) — Officials in Dubuque are considering an ambitious plan for a city-owned island in the Mississippi River that includes an elevated boardwalk, tower and amphitheater.Dubuque City Council will meet Monday to review a more than $3 million plan to make Chaplain Schmitt Island a more appealing destination for recreation and entertainment, The Telegraph Herald reported.

The plan calls for 17 projects to be completed over 20 years. Projects include creating a pond, fountain and trail behind the Veterans Memorial Plaza.”It’s time to clean up our front yard and give it the true attention it needs,” said Kevin Lynch, a City Council member who was on the task force that helped develop the plan.City officials hope the plan opens access to the water and takes advantage of the island’s scenic vistas, Lynch said. It also hopes to offer recreation and outdoor activities, such as kayaking and paddleboarding.

About $1 million would be used to improve a bridge and make it safer, said Ryan Peterson of RDG Planning & Design, which was hired to work on the plan.

Other improvements in later phases of the project include wetlands restoration, adding bridge lighting and creating an observation tower that could include zip lining and climbing, Peterson said.

Lynch said officials are close to having enough money for the plan’s first phase from an unnamed donor. He said the project likely won’t require significant taxpayer money and that the city plans to create private partnerships and fundraise to pay for future work.

He said work on the first phase is expected to begin next year if there aren’t delays in permitting.

Chaplain Schmitt Island in Dubuque