Project of the Year - Government/Public Building

The newly unveiled Schwiebert Park is a 5-acre urban multi-use park that runs along the banks of the Mississippi River in Rock Island, Ill.

Photo: Gere-dismer Architects
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When the Mississippi is in its channel, the park provides visitors with sweeping views of the river, an open air stage, playground areas, interactive fountain, an overlook shelter, waterfront promenade, bike trail and beautiful landscaped grounds.

However, when the river floods, removable flood walls provide vital protection.

An important feature of the park is the elevated grass lawn near the stage. The lawn provides views and entertainment space during stage events.

Elevating the lawn allows less frequent installation of removable flood wall panels, reducing flood-fighting labor.

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 riverfront park adjacent to downtown Rock Island.

This prime location would be a new gathering point for people to enjoy outdoor fireworks and concerts.

The project team created a park with “invisible” flood protection. The armory building was demolished, but with green and economic consideration.

Concrete and brick from the building were crushed into small sizes and used as fill to raise the site and backfill the basement. In addition, all metals in the building were separated and sold to local recyclers.

Key Players

Developer/Owner: City of Rock Island, Ill.
GC: Valley Construction Co., Rock Island, Ill.
CM: Valley Construction Co., Rock Island, Ill.
Architect: Gere-Dismer Architects LLC, Rock Island, Ill.
Engineer: Stanley Consultants, Muscatine, Iowa