Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rock Island Riverfront News

New armory designs unveiled -QCOnline (link should work for a week)

I previously said that I didn't think the idea of turning various walls and pieces of the RI Armory into an amphitheater made sense, but the rendering in the story goes a long way towards convincing me. I still have to wonder how many outdoor concert venues we need within sight of each other.

The idea of leaving 1 wall up to "preserve" the historic Armory seems along the same lines as forcing casinos to have a Styrofoam basement to qualify as "floating casinos." However, the rendering looks a lot better than what I was picturing after reading the earlier article's description. I think that this could be a really great concert venue, and perhaps my lingering negativity towards it is based on jealousy that this could outshine Davenport's bandshell or propose Crescent Park amphitheater.

I guess almost anything is better than what's there now.


mrc said...

Not half bad -- though I'd like to see more detailed renderings, and a plan. A few concerns I have are similar to some of QCI's remarks:

* Right now, the District seems to work pretty well as a party/smaller concert venue -- would this outdoor stage take away from / compete with those festivals? Would outdoor drinking be allowed here?

* In LeClaire Park, you can have a festival right on the river -- since RI is not going to tear down their floodwall (is it??), will the proposed armory concert venue really be as integrated with the water as the rendering makes it seem? If not -- won't it be kind of lame in comparison with Davenport?

* I remember downtown RI before the casino, and it was a ghost town -- what justifies the optimistic thought that it won't crumble back into obscurity if the casino leaves? (...and I would be delighted to be shown that it can succeed!)

Anonymous said...

One you get up on top of the levee down there, you can see the river very well.

I ride my bike along there often, and that area has a ton of potential. It offers a great look at downtown Davenport, and would feel like a real "urban" park.

I share the concern of getting people down there to utilize it. That's why I think piers - both for fishing and boating - are critical for both riverfronts.

In other cities with active, well-used waterfronts, there is a real connection to the water which seems missing most places in the Quad-Cities (except for Ben Butterworth, which really gets a lot of multi-use from bikers, to fishermen to kids playing at playgrounds).

hoganj300 said...

Rerouting Illinois 92 to the one ways through downtown? It sort of seems it would cost a lot to continue the one ways west to Centennial Expressway and create new on ramps there when a block south there's the interchange with 7th Avenue. (there’s an document showing this option that SAA studied) I really would not like on-street parking on 1st Ave. Imagine the problems that parking would create after the end of a concert at the Armory. It would make 1st Ave. and mess and a headache for traffic control. They would also need to add more parking for an amphitheater. I definitely agree we can't have both the Armory and Crescent amphitheaters. And what's up with this? :"In addition to the Millennium Park similarity, Mayor Schwiebert also likened Rock Island's plans for 1st Avenue to the re-routing of Chicago's Lake Shore Drive to create its museum campus. It really doesn't make sense to compare the two.

Anonymous said...

The armory floor is considerably higher than the existing grade on the site, so river views will be enhanced. You'll also notice that removable flood protection walls are part of the design for the park. Rerouting Route 92 could take a number of forms, but utilizing existing multiple lanes on 4th and 5th avenue oneways makes sense. Parking on a revamped First Avenue could be allowed for casual park use and prohibited during major events. As for alcohol sales, fishing, etc. those are minor details compared to an overall concept plan for a park. As for the Downtown being deserted in the late 80's and early 90's, what downtown in the Q.C.'s wasn't? It's a new era.

mrc said...

I didn't notice that about removable flood walls -- that's a great idea that would go a long way towards reconnecting the downtown with the river. Don't get me wrong, I'm very much pro this new plan, even though I'd like to see more -- I love the idea of reusing only the roof and one wall of the armory -- that could be an architectural icon for the RI riverside, if done skillfully.

I'm actually working on a project to create an urban / architectural plan for the old IH site for my master's thesis, and grappling with all these questions myself now (if only in a pretend project) -- I really want to discover the sort of plan that could make RI a success, and that's why I'm asking these questions...

hoganj300 said...

Hey,mrc, which old IH site are you talking about, the one in Rock Island or the one in East Moline?

mrc said...

hi, hogan -- geez, i guess i need to do some research -- i didn't even know there was a site in east moline. the one in rock island is what i'm thinking of, next to sylvan slough. i've found a plan for it on the web -- the "Columbia Park plan", by a group in Madison, I think. I went to talk to an economic development guy at the city, though, and it sounded like it was far from being implemented.