With the Mississippi River cresting in Davenport, the Quad Cities River Bandits (Low Class A; Midwest League) are bringing out their bridge system for fan access to Modern Woodmen Park Thursday night. UPDATED!
The River Bandits have been on the road this week; good thing, because the Mississippi River hit flood levels — 18 feet or so — late Sunday and early Monday. The flooding surrounded Modern Woodmen Park but didn’t enter the playing field, thanks to the measures taken when the ballpark was renovated several years ago. The photo above shows the flooding in the parking lot next to the ballpark on Saturday; since then the flooding overtook the entire area.
Flooding in the area isn’t new: the River Bandits solved this problem years ago with a temporary walkway allowing access to the ballpark, and that system was installed over the weekend.
However, there may be a casualty as a result of the flooding: the installation of a Ferris wheel outside the left-field ballpark wall. The area planned as a Ferris wheel pad is currently under water, and it will take a few weeks for the ground to dry out once the floodwater recede. River Bandits owner Dave Heller had hoped to have the Ferris wheel up and running this season, but the delay may mean a 2014 opening instead. From the Quad-City Times:
City Administrator Craig Malin informed the Davenport City Council at last week’s meeting, telling them, “My expectation is that we may have to wait one season for the Ferris wheel and have it ready for opening day.”
Heller is taking a more cautious approach.
“The last conversation I had with the city administrator was that we don’t really have to make a decision now or anytime this month on the installation,” he said. “We’ll wait and see where the water is at the end of the month and make an informed decision.”
A planned zipline should be operational this summer, however.
UPDATE: The River Bandits are taking the offensive, inviting fans out to a “Beat the Flood” night Monday and offering free admission.
“The Quad Cities community goes through so much to ‘Beat the Flood’ and the outstanding work by the City of Davenport is the reason the River Bandits can still play baseball at Modern Woodmen Park, so we want to show our appreciation by treating everyone to a free game,” said team owner Dave Heller in a press release. “As an organization deeply committed to this community, the River Bandits’ ‘Beat the Flood Day’ recognizes and rewards the people of the Quad Cities for their courageous efforts and their unsinkable spirit.”
Modern Woodmen Park is flood-protected by walls put in place by the City of Davenport. Fans should check riverbandits.com for updates about accessing the ballpark. Parking is available in the Florian Keen parking lot north of the ballpark, which is accessible via Western Avenue.
“With the flood protection of Modern Woodmen Park, the Quad Cities community has ensured baseball will continue, and we are so grateful to be able to play,” said River Bandits General Manager Harold Craw. “With ‘Beat the Flood Day’ on Monday, the River Bandits will share baseball for free with the community that has made it possible.”
Image courtesy Quad Cities River Bandits.
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