Site of Former Casino Perfect for Schwiebert Riverfront Park

Stanley Consultants provided engineering design for a showcase park in Rock Island, Illinois.

In the spring of 2009, the tied Rock Island, Illinois, mayoral race was determined by names drawn from sealed envelopes.  A major issue during the election was the development of Schwiebert Riverfront Park, the former site of the Rock Island Armory Building and Jumer's Casino.  Fortunately, fates smiled on the park's advocate.  The City moved forward with a showcase park that also provides flood protection when the waters of the Mighty Mississippi swell beyond its banks.

The opportunity to build a park emerged when a viable use could not be found for a deteriorating 1930s art deco Armory building occupying much of the site.  Demolishing the building created a venue perfect for a 5.5-acre riverfront park adjacent to downtown Rock Island.  This prime location would be a new gathering point for the downtown Rock Island, a place for people to enjoy outdoor fireworks and concerts, and to watch eagles dive for fish at the nearby dam.  Many other views were blocked by permanent flood walls or levees.  The challenge of the site lay in the north wall of the Armory as a vital part of Rock Island's flood protection system.  Without the Armory flood protection, a large portion of the city would be at risk for flooding as occurred in 1965.

The solution was to create a park with "invisible" flood protection.