- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will pay for modifications to a new park in Davenport along the Mississippi River if the city lets it dock a giant towboat there.

The Corps is looking for a place to dock its Motor Vessel Mississippi when it passes through the Quad Cities on Aug. 1, but another Davenport landing is booked that day, the Quad-City Times (http://bit.ly/1OldWkj ) reported.

Davenport’s Levee Improvement Commission development director, Steve Ahrens, suggested that the Corps park at the city’s new River Heritage Park.

Docking at the park could be challenging because there’s nowhere to embark passengers. But Corps spokesman Ron Fournier said the Corps is willing to create a landing on its own dime in order to dock there.

The Corps has also said it would gladly return the site back to its original state after the towboat leaves, but the city has another plan in mind.

“I see this as an additional port of call for Davenport,” Ahrens said Wednesday after briefing the Levee Improvement Commission on the plan.

The city doesn’t have a written agreement with the Corps yet, but Ahrens expressed excitement about the prospect.

“Let’s make this happen,” he said. “This is great.”

The new dock could potentially allow Viking River Cruises to dock at the park, too. The cruise line has announced a future Mississippi River route that includes a stop in Davenport. Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch told levee commissioners that the Celebration Belle might also be interested in docking at the park.

“I don’t want to speak for them, but I don’t know why not,” Ahrens said. “Everyone knows that the water is deeper in the pool above (Lock and Dam 15).”

Fournier said the Corps should have final plans about the potential project in a couple of weeks.

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Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com

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