The Quad Cities has a new landmark and tourist attraction, a giant ferris wheel that’s a permanent addition to the Mississippi riverfront in the park beside Davenport’s minor league baseball stadium. The wheel is 105-feet tall with 20 open-air gondolas offering a spectacular view.
Dave Heller, the owner of the Quad Cities River Bandits, borrowed one million dollars to pay for the attraction. “I know this, that long after all of us standing up here are gone, this ferris wheel will still be turning and generations and generations and generations of children will still be enjoying it and that’s a wonderful legacy to leave for this wonderful community.”
Heller had hoped to have the wheel running a year ago, but flooding postponed the project near the foot of the Centennial Bridge until this spring. Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba says only Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston have longer histories than Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport.
Mayor Gluba says: “You know what they don’t have, these two big legendary parks? This setting, this river, this bridge, this town and our people.”
Gluba and Heller were among the first passengers to ride the new ferris wheel. It passed a state inspection Wednesday and will start offering rides on Saturday as a benefit for a Quad Cities hospital foundation.