Riders on the newest attractions at Modern Woodmen Park will have a chance to help Quad-City-area children.
All profits from four new amusement rides at the Midwest League ballpark will benefit Quad-City children in need through a newly formed trust.
Now open on third-base deck are the Wind Up, which swings riders back and forth and also includes 360-degree spins, and the Double Play, which spins riders back and forth and tilts, ultimately reaching a 90-degree angle.
A double-tier carousel, the only one of its kind in the State of Iowa, is scheduled to open later this month, as is a kiddie train along the first-base side of the ballpark.
“Every penny stays in the community, and that’s the cool thing about it,’’ Quad-Cities River Bandits owner Dave Heller said. “This helps raise dollars for children in need. This is our 10-year anniversary in the community, and we wanted to celebrate in a big way.’’
Heller, Davenport mayor Frank Klipsch and Richard Bittner, a trustee of the Bechtel Trusts, celebrated Friday with a ribbon-cutting honoring the collaborative spirit of the project that made it happen.
A new nonprofit corporation, the Carousel Charitable Trust, has been formed by Heller and Bittner to own the rides and give money generated by the four rides it owns back into the community. The trust purchased the rides, which have a $1.4 million value, earlier this year.
“One of things I’ve enjoyed throughout my professional career is helping put together collaborative efforts to make things happen, and this is an example of that,’’ Klipsch said. “This is a great investment by the River Bandits, the city and a philanthropic organization that will benefit Davenport and the Quad-Cities community for many years.’’
Bittner said the attractions are part of a “renewal of our downtown Davenport community.’’
The rides are open during River Bandits home games, weather permitting, as well as on Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer and fall when the team is not playing at home.
"Dave Heller, the CEO of Main Street Baseball and majority owner and managing partner of three minor league teams including the Quad Cities River Bandits, values safety, cleanliness and also has fireworks every Friday night, but claims to take the Disney model up a notch and was heavily influenced by the corporation.
Located in Davenport, Iowa, Modern Woodmen Park, the High-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, is home to both the River Bandits and eight rides that make up a mini-amusement park, including a 105-foot-tall Ferris wheel sometimes used for speed-dating, a video game room and the only double-decker carousel between Chicago’s Navy Pier and Kansas City.
The rides are not the only excitement not related directly to baseball. Heller has had an event called the “candy drop” where a helicopter rains candy down on the children. As they pick up their treats, the helicopter circles back, dropping marshmallows on its final lap.
The parallels to Disney are obvious. A theme park, candy everywhere and a place that allows anyone who walks through its doors the opportunity to forget what is happening in their lives."
-Medill Reports, June 5, 2021
"Modern minor league parks have the elaborate brick facades fans once saw only at Fenway Park in Boston or its more modern copycats in Major League Baseball. There are other head-turning features, too. In Davenport, Iowa, a 110-foot tall Ferris wheel sits beyond left field, near bumper cars, a carousel and – because it’s Iowa – a mini cornfield."
-Worcester (Mass.) Business Journal, June 7, 2019
"The Ferris wheel was purchased by Main Street Amusements for $995,000 through a loan agreement with The National Bank. That loan has been paid off and the Ferris wheel has been gifted to the city of Davenport to ensure that it will remain a fixture at the stadium well into the future.... All other rides at stadium, including the Genesis Kidz Koaster, a miniature train, the Drop and Twist, bumper cars and more, were purchased by and are owned by Main Street Amusements, which is also responsible for operations and maintenance."
-Quad-City Times, July 8, 2018
"Quad Cities River Bandits owner Dave Heller has grown his seasonal business beyond baseball with the addition of family amusement rides, including a Chance Giant Wheel on the left field concourse of Modern Woodmen Park.... Ride ticket sales are donated to local charities."
-Amusement Today, July, 2018
"The baseball is often solid ... And a lot of families obviously enjoy the rides."
-Quad-City Times, April 7, 2018
"Modern Woodmen Park was [always] positioned as a venue stressing experiences for the whole family: amusements and games for the kids, high-quality food and beverage for the adults, and baseball for all. The new amusement rides make Modern Woodmen Park a destination on non-game days, open and running during the popular weekend Farmer’s Markets next to the ballpark. It’s also turned the left-field corner of the ballpark into a prime family gathering spot."
-Ballpark Digest, October 24, 2017
"River Bandits fans and the community have embraced the new Ferris wheel, judging by the lines we’ve observed during ballgames and at off-times when the team isn’t playing. The attraction has added a new dimension to the Davenport skyline."
-Quad-City Times, August 1, 2014
"Creativity has not been in short supply throughout Heller’s time in the Quad-Cities. The menagerie of amusement rides, including a Ferris wheel, roller coaster and two-story carousel, draws long lines regularly. And with proceeds benefiting area charities, the River Bandits have contributed tens of thousands of dollars annually to projects such as Flu-Free Quad-Cities which funds flu shots for area youths."
-Quad-City Times, August 30, 2017
"Modern Woodmen Park is like baseball meets a miniature Six Flags ... but it still has the that feel of being at an old-time ballyard."
-Quad-City Times, July 22, 2017