River Heritage Park gets its gazebo

A Wednesday groundbreaking for a River Heritage Park gazebo commemorating the Davenport Rotary Club's 100 years in the community missed the centennial celebration by a year as design and park delays pushed it back.

But Wednesday was finally the day as Rotary and city officials dug in with gold shovels. The Davenport Rotary, the 34th such club in the world, marks "101-plus" years in the community, past president Mike Hamann said. Current Davenport Rotary President Cheryl Goodwin called the groundbreaking "a long time coming."

The gazebo, built with local materials and bearing a resemblance to the Arsenal Island blockhouse, will stand on an elevated location near the bike path toward the west end of the seven-acre park. It is the first structure to be built in the park.

"It sets the tone for some of the materials used," architect Greg Larrison said.

Mayor Bill Gluba recognized Rotary for its good work. The club raised $100,000 for the gazebo's construction.

"This is a significant contribution to the city of Davenport," he said. "When built, the pavilion will serve as a great tribute to our commitment to our community."

Construction is expected to begin soon with foundation work and is expected to take about eight weeks, Bush Construction president A.J. Loss said. A dedication ceremony for the gazebo, a parking area and a railing along the seawall will be later this year.

The Rotary began putting aside money about 10 years ago for a centennial project, Hamann said. Club member Bill Ashton, who also serves on Davenport's Levee Improvement Commission, suggested a gazebo or pavilion.

"This is the beginning of a historic-looking park," Hamann said.

The park is located where the first Mississippi River railroad bridge reached Iowa and also where the Blackhawk War treaty was signed. The Rotary worked with the levee commission on the design, extending the start of the project.

"Between the city and levee commission and Rotary Club, there was no wavering on this project," Hamann said.

The cost of other work scheduled to start soon in the park totals $190,000.

The levee commission voted in May to extend a railing 808 feet along the seawall for safety purposes. The commission originally considered a 1,400-foot-long railing, but it shrank the project because of the cost. The 808-foot project was awarded to Crawford Co. for $145,442.32.

Five bids for 1,400 feet of railing were between $161,800 and $287,140. The parking area and railing are being paid for through grants from the Riverboat Development Authority, Scott County Regional Authority and Davenport Capital Improvement Plan funds.