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Heller: River Bandits Aren’t Going Anywhere

Modern Woodmen Park 2017

Although flooding has affected their 2019 schedule, Quad Cities River Bandits (Low A; Midwest League) owner Dave Heller is emphasizing that the organization is not leaving Modern Woodmen Park

Mississippi River flooding has posed scheduling challenges for the River Bandits over the early phases of the 2019 season. The team’s scheduled May 9-11 home series against the Great Lakes Loons was cancelled over the issue, and overall the River Bandits have had to play 12 of their first 15 scheduled home dates in other ballparks, with another home date lost because of rain.

Over a history that dates back to the ballpark’s opening in 1931, the current Modern Woodmen Park’s location along the banks of the Mississippi River in Davenport, IA has left it prone to the effects of flooding. The recent challenges for the River Bandits have prompted some questions about whether the decision to build the ballpark where it is located has proven to be a mistake, but Heller disputed that idea in a recent opinion piece for the Quad-City Times. In that story, Heller emphasized not just the advantages of the location–mainly the picturesque setting–but also that the River Bandits and Davenport officials are coming up with new solutions to address potential flooding issues in the future. More from the Quad-City Times:

I don’t like flooding any more than anyone else. And I’ve lost plenty of money because of it. But the day I would trade our picturesque riverfront ballpark for some cookie-cutter new park built out in some flood-immune field is The Day After Never.

Rather than look back in regret at the flooding, the better approach is to learn from it, prepare better for the future and try to mitigate the damage. Which is exactly what the City of Davenport and the River Bandits are doing.

The railroads raise the tracks and block the entrance to the ballpark? OK, then raise the road and build a handicapped-accessible sidewalk alongside so people can enter and exit the park even when the water’s reached 21 feet. Which is what’s being done. The batting cages flood? Then build a flood wall to protect that area for the future. Which we are currently working on. In short, when the next flood comes, we will be even better prepared.

The River Bandits and Davenport have been successful in the past of making adjustments to work around flooding issues. A renovation unveiled for the 2004 season introduced a flood wall system (later expanded in 2010) that keeps the ballpark and its playing surface dry even during river crests. Future adjustments will follow the recent scheduling shifts, which have posed challenges for the River Bandits but have clearly not made team ownership question the franchise’s long-term future at Modern Woodmen Park.

RELATED STORIES: Flooding Forces Cancellation of River Bandits SeriesRiver Bandits Shift May 6-8 Home SeriesFloods Hamper Modern Woodmen Park AccessScenes from a ballpark flood in Davenport

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