Down to the river to play
Rock Island, Ill., part of the Quad Cities area along the Mississippi River, celebrated the opening of Schwiebert Riverfront Park last month. Part of a series of riverfront improvements in the Quad Cities, the park is named for former Mayor Mark Schwiebert, who served for 20 years and who tirelessly promoted public use of the riverfront.
Built on the site of a former National Guard Armory, the downtown park includes the Great Lawn, an open-air stage, and a maintenance building, which together trace the silhouette of the former armory. Nearby are an interactive fountain, public art sculptures, an observation shelter, a waterfront promenade and a bike trail. Also, the park includes a compass embedded in concrete that assists out-of-town visitors who may not know the Mississippi River runs east to west in the Quad Cities.
Two playground areas in the park feature digital playground equipment from Tacoma, Wash.-based Kompan that combine digital gaming and the outdoor playground. In one playground feature called Space, teams compete to beat the clock in four dynamic games by hitting the LED flashing game nodes as fast as they can.
The $12.35 million park is funded by Downtown Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District funds. Bonds were issued for $11.1 million, and TIF funds will be used to retire the bonds.