The Dubuque County Historical Society is asking the Vision Iowa board for more than one-million dollars to help create a Mississippi River Plaza. The outdoor eco-park would connect the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium with the soon-to-open Great Rivers of the World Center.
Museum director Jerry Enzler says they want to create an eco-park on the football field-size piece of land that sits between the two museums. "There would be an area for historic boats," Enzler says. "There would be a dancing waters fountain for children, you know, the water leaps over their heads, and one of the most unique features is a living stream."
Enzler says kids could take Huck Finn-style raft rides down the stream full of fish. He also envisions an outdoor dining area and a quiet reflection garden, but before any of it can happen, the project needs money.
Enzler says, "We’ve applied to vision Iowa for one-point-three million dollars and the Vision Iowa board is now looking at the applications." If the historical society gets the grant, organizers would be required to raise that same amount of money to build the park. Dawn Vesley, a visitor to the National Mississippi River Museum, says the proposal looks great.
"I think it would be an awesome thing for kids to do," Vesley says. "They don’t get to experience a lot of things with nature and history that I think they should." Dubuque will have to compete with other communities for the Vision Iowa dollars. The Vision Iowa board says Waterloo and Guttenberg have also applied for grants.