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The City of Bettendorf made a huge splash Friday, June 2, on its 120th birthday celebration day by breaking ground on its new state-of-the-art aquatic facility and ice skating rink. Dozens of supporters gathered at the corner of 23rd Street and Middle Road — in the shadows of its old Splash Landing water park — to witness the ceremonial launch of The Landing. “It’s really cool for us to be celebrating our 120th birthday and launching a transformational project that will hopefully serve us that long into the future,” Mayor Bob Gallagher told the QCBJ. He was joined by a handful of dignitaries and project partners who used their golden-painted shovels to dig up and throw the first scoops of dirt to officially kick off the project’s construction. The new $18 million recreational amenity is a partnership between the city and the YMCA of Iowa Mississippi Valley, which will eventually manage the facility. Both entities invested $6 million each in The Landing, which also had financial support from other partners including the Riverboat Development Authority, Scott County Regional Authority, Scott County, Bechtel Trust and, as of Thursday, June 1, a newly awarded $790,000 Enhance Iowa grant from the state. Thanking all the partners as well as city council members, city staff and the design and construction team, Mr. Gallagher told the crowd that The Landing project will transform the site into “a year-round attraction.” The construction site — which has offered swimming activities for nearly 50 years, first as Middle Pool and then Splash Landing — will boast both aquatic and ice skating facilities. The latter amenity replaces the city’s temporary, but popular, Frozen Landing rink. The two amenities, the mayor said, “are growing up.” Designed by RDG Planning & Design, the new attraction will be built by General Constructors Inc. (GCI), of Bettendorf. GCI’s crews and equipment were already on site and had fenced off Splash Landing ahead of demolition. “We’re very grateful to have the opportunity to be part of this project,” GCI’s President Dan Ward told the crowd before the ceremonial dig. But, “in order to build a new facility, we have to tear down the old one we built 21 years ago,” he said, while joking that it made him feel old to be taking down something they previously had built. “We understand the work that has gone into this hasn’t been easy,” Mr. Ward told the city representatives on hand, adding how proud the company is to be participating in the transformation. The project involved more than a year of planning including multiple community open houses and meetings by the steering committee, the park board, and advisory committee and city council. Mo Hyder, who serves as the YMCA’s chief volunteer officer, called the milestone “an amazing day for not only the city of Bettendorf but the entire Quad Cities area.” The new “community asset,” he said, will deepen the Y’s involvement and reach into the Bettendorf area. As part of the new recreational improvements, the Y also took over the city’s Life Fitness Center, located across Middle Road, and operates it as one of seven Y facilities in Scott, Clinton and Jackson counties. “It’s a great collaboration,” Brad Martel, the Y’s CEO, told the QCBJ after the ceremony. The project shows “how government and a nonprofit can come together.” The partnership, Mr. Martel said, allowed both the city and Y to expand its services and better serve its members “without raising rates or taxes” and show “how great we can work together for the betterment of the community.” According to Mr. Gallagher, the project will be built in two phases with the first phase being the construction of the 12,500-square-foot activity pool, which is slated to open on Memorial Day weekend 2024. He said the second phase will include the pool’s slide tower, lazy river and spray pad as well as the skating rink (due to open in winter of 2024). “We could build that right now, but the steel for the tower is 18 months out” due to supply chain issues, Mr. Gallagher told the QCBJ. The groundbreaking came just one day after The Landing was awarded a $790,000 Community Action and Tourism (CAT) grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IDEA). “We were able to receive this grant thanks to The Landing Community Campaign, which raised $14,712 from 97 donors between May 15 and June 1, 2023,” Kim Kidwell, Bettendorf’s culture & recreation director, said in a news release. “Thank you to everyone who supported this project and helped us secure this additional funding.” The city and YMCA launched a last-minute community campaign after the Enhance Iowa Board requested more community financial support for the project before awarding the grant. “After presenting the results of The Landing Community Campaign at Enhance Iowa’s June 1 Board Meeting, we were granted $40,000 more than what was originally recommended,” Bettendorf City Administrator Decker Ploehn said in a city news release announcing the grant. “This puts us in a great position as we start building this multi-million-dollar project.” Mr. Gallagher told the QCBJ that the additional CAT funding “gives us the opportunity to (return) value to some of the things we value-engineered out of the project,” such as slides and shade structures. But no final decisions have been made, he added. For updates on The Landing, visit www.bettendorf.org/TheLanding.