The City of Davenport gathered for a celebration for the completion of Phase 2 of Veterans Memorial Park.
The $800,000 project included the developments of the river outlook, a 40×8-foot mural and the addition of an amphitheater. The project was funded in part by Davenport’s capital investment projects. Volunteers helped the park achieve their Phase 2 end goal throughout the planning and construction process.
Davenport West art teacher Dave Schaeffer created the mural that is one of the new highlights shown at Veterans Park. “Having some personal connection with my grandpa in it, and just having some stories for other people to tell,” Schaeffer said. “I think this hopefully is a long legacy of stuff to support and remember our veterans.”
Schaeffer says the mural is dedicated to veterans across the Quad Cities and Veterans Memorial Park. Schaeffer said the panels for the mural were created one by one and done inside a garage over the span of two years. “We had some letters from veterans that were on our committee,” Schaeffer said. “My grandpa is one of the letters. It’s the first letter up on the far left. I hid some letters and newspaper clippings from World War 2 and Vietnam and things inside of it to help tell the story.”
Veterans at the ribbon cutting appreciated the gesture from Schaeffer. “It’s especially meaningful for me because I want to try and give back,” Bill Churchill, president of Friends of Veterans Memorial Park, said. “I want to try and give something that many generations can celebrate in the future. Also, to remember our history and our sacrifices that veterans have made over the many years and the wars that we’ve been in. It’s important that we remember.”
Davenport Mayor Mike Matson, also a veteran, values the time and effort put into Phase 2 of the Veterans Memorial Park. “This doesn’t happen if all these people don’t volunteer their time,” Matson said. “The love for the community, the love for Davenport, the love for veterans and all of this, tell me a better thing. We do a lot of cool things in this community, and that’s why I love the Quad Cities and Davenport, because so many people do so many wonderful things. But this one is special.”
With Phase 2 of the project complete, Schaeffer is happy to support the veterans who are also his friends and family. “I had a lot of students here,” Schaeffer said. “My past students coming, friends and family here, family from out of town. It’s really special to me, so just getting to see it actually up and not stacked and wrapped in plastic in my garage for the last 2 years is great. It’s finally here, and it found a home. It’s very cool to see it up.”
The City of Davenport has not supplied an official time frame when Phase 3 of the Veterans Memorial Park will start.