Renovations coming to Sunset Park

Rock Island city council are currently working on improvements to Sunset Park, adding campgrounds to the land.
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 6:23 PM CDT
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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - Sunset Park sits on 250 acres of wooded park land owned by the City of Rock Island and features amenities like picnic areas, playgrounds and walking paths, but in recent years, city officials say that they have seen a decline in boaters visiting the park.

According to city officials, they say there has been a 28% decrease from 2010 to 2017.

However, as of Monday, Rock Island’s city council has announced that it plans to restore the park in hopes of increasing traffic.

Rock Island city council officials say they are currently working on several improvements to Sunset Park, like adding campgrounds to the land and decreasing the marina capacity.

“We want this to be a destination for folks to come not only for boating but also for camping,” said Rock Island’s Parks and Recreation Director John Gripp. “That would allow us to continue to do improvements at the park and the marina.”

One of the council members that helped create the plan was Alderman Randy Hunt, who said over a month ago the idea was brought up to the council members, and during Monday night’s meeting the council decided to move forward with a feasibility study.

“I can tell you personally, I’ve had plenty of conversations with residents of the city and every one seems to give positive feedback,” Alderman Hunt said.

City officials say that the study is meant to gauge the public’s interest of constructing camping facilities at the park, and which of the five types are the most sustainable for the park and campers, including amenities like ‘back-in room, pull-through room, space for pull-ins, tents, and cabins.

“It’s a pretty positive thing for us, I mean if they do turn it into a campground we’re right here,” said Kevin Cooper, the Commodore for the Rock Island Boat Club.

At the end of the feasibility study, the city council will decide what structure works best, and begin the process of finding a construction firm to begin the renovations.

The construction was estimated during Monday night’s city council meeting to be anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000 -- and according to Alderman Hunt -- the funds will come from government funds.