Use of Edgewood Park for new Bettendorf elementary school would require approval by National Park Service and Iowa DNR

The city owned Edgewood Park along 23rd Street has been the leading location for a new three-section elementary if the district decides to close Mark Twain and Jefferson schools.

But using part or all of the 7-acre park for a school will require more than approval by the city and school board.

That's because the city has used federal Land & Water Conservation Funds (LWCF) funds for development of the park, and converting it to school use will require approval of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the National Park Service.

The state and federal review could take anywhere between eight to 18 months, according to an IDNR official.

"The process for converting (through selling or construction of structures/buildings) park land protected by the federal program is lengthy, and can take anywhere from 8 to 18 months to gain approval from the National Park Service," the IDNR official said. "Finding replacement property can be equally challenging for communities, as the replacement property must be of equal or greater dollar value (as determined by an appraisal) as the property being converted."

According to the IDNR, the sale of a portion of the park could be done, but "the remaining park land would need to be a viable outdoor park with its own entrance, parking and be open to the general public, no exclusive uses." However, even partial use/conversion of park property would be subject to IDNR and National Park Service review, according to the IDNR.

City officials have all but declared McManus Park (a.k.a. Rocket Park) off limits for donation to the school district because of its heavy use and the unique handicapped access playground paid for by the Junior League of the Quad Cities.

The school district's administrative team recommended constructing a new school on a neutral building site within the area served by Jefferson and Mark Twain. Both Jefferson and Twain have sufficient land to build an addition or a new school, and soil borings and cost estimates previously have been done for both sites.

The school board plans to meet in a work session at 8 a.m., Saturday (2/3) at Hoover Elementary School, 3223 S. Hampton Dr., to discuss how the district should prioritize a list of $60 million worth of improvements for elementary, middle and high school buildings.

Go to top