More fun for the family at Modern Woodmen Park, as the Quad Cities River Bandits (Low A; Midwest League) unveiled two new amusements last night — with the proceeds from the new rides devoted to a new nonprofit.
The team also announced the installation of a new double-decker carousel, which goes live on June 13. The new rides certainly lent a festive atmosphere to Modern Woodmen Park last night, with a large crowd of 6,406 on hand.
The two new rides join the Genesis Kidz Koaster roller coaster unveiled earlier this season. The new Wind Up and Double Play amusements are from Italy and manufactured for Modern Woodmen Park by SBF Visa. The carousel was purchased from Pier 39 in San Francisco and stripped down and renovated by the River Bandits. The three rides are valued at $1.4 million and were purchased by the Carousel Charitable Trust with a $1 million investment by The Bechtel Trusts.
River Bandits owners Dave Heller and Roby Smith, Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch and the Trustee of the Bechtel Trusts, Richard Bittner, were on-hand to officially open the rides at a press conference Friday. The trio also announced the creation of a new 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation called the “Carousel Charitable Trust” to donate every single dollar of profit made by the new rides back to help local, underprivileged children in the Quad Cities.
“The River Bandits are all about helping families create lasting memories while enjoying first-rate baseball,” Heller said in a press release. “Now, thanks to the work of Mayor Klipsch and the generosity of Dick Bittner and the Bechtel Trust, we will offer even more family entertainment options for kids of all ages and, at the same time, raise money to help local children in need. That’s what we call a win-win.
“I’d like to thank Mayor Klipsch, Mr. Bittner, the City of Davenport and the people of the Quad Cities for sharing in our vision and making this incredible group of rides possible,” Heller added. “Since we opened our Ferris wheel three years ago, this community has supported our team in record numbers. It’s wonderful that we can offer even more fun rides and more family-friendly entertainment options for the people of this great community.”
Richard Bittner and The Bechtel Trusts have a long history of working with area charities and causes to benefit the Quad Cities community. The trusts have worked with the Scott County Family Y and other nonprofit organizations which aim at bettering the area and, more specifically, helping underprivileged children.
“This is another great addition to downtown Davenport. It’s really a destination point for the city. Not only do kids want to come for the baseball, they want to stay the whole night,” Klipsch said. “As a father and grandfather of ten kids, my kids and grandkids say, ‘come on, let’s go. Take us to a game, grandpa.’ Families come here not just for baseball, but for a family event, so we’re excited to have this here. There have been so many great additions to Modern Woodmen Park, and that’s why this is the number one ballpark in America.”
The Wind Up sends eight riders on a thrilling, sometimes even upside-down, voyage as riders swing back and forth and also spin around 360 degrees. The Wind Up will operate at two speeds: a mild ride, which swings from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock, and a wild ride that takes riders on repeated 360-degree spins.
The Double Play sends 12 riders on a topsy-turvy journey as the ride spins around in two directions, moving forwards and backwards while tilting first at a 45-degree angle and, ultimately, a 90-degree angle.
The hand-painted double-decker Venetian Carousel comes to Modern Woodmen Park from San Francisco, where it thrilled millions on Pier 39. The Carousel, which is the only double-decker merry-go-round in the state of Iowa, features various horses and sea creatures along with two spinning tea cups, benches, and an ADA-accessible wheelchair seat, providing timeless thrills to children of all ages.