The city of Rock Island is considering exploring the potential of developing a campground at Sunset Park, a 250-acre park that features woodlands overlooking Lake Potter and the Mississippi River.
As per a report from the Quad-City Times, the park features several amenities, including a marina, playgrounds, walking trails, shelters, and an overlook tower. Moreover, with a worn-out baseball field, underutilized parking spaces, and a marina in need of $16 million in repairs, the city is looking to turn Sunset Park into a destination that can generate revenue.
During a recent city council meeting, Parks and Recreation Director John Gripp presented the potential for developing campgrounds to make the park a destination and a source of revenue.
Adding a campground along with the marina will attract people who are going to rent boats — from paddle boats to jet skis,” Gripp said. “We’re going to want to put a potential restaurant and bar or something in that area because you are stuffing it full of people all year round.”
Several locations are being considered for camping, including Pettifer Island for tent camping, the old ballfield and parking lot for RVs, and property along Skafidas Parkway with river views.
The council members are in favor of the idea and believe that the campground could be a catalyst for the development of other amenities such as a restaurant or bar and boat rentals.
A feasibility study will be needed to determine the amount of available land and the market demand. The study will also evaluate the cost of the project, which could range from $20,000 to $50,000.
“I feel we just have a completely underutilized asset,” said 7th Ward Ald. Bill Healy. “I’m all for it — if it can be done.”