Some don't agree with Chaplain Schmitt Island upgrades, possible - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Some don't agree with Chaplain Schmitt Island upgrades, possible plans to remove campground

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Example of lighting for boardwalk Example of lighting for boardwalk

Some people in Dubuque are upset to hear the city's latest plans for developing Chaplain Schmitt Island.

It includes possibly getting rid of Miller Riverview Campground and converting it into an elevated boardwalk. The park is located along the Mississippi River, which often floods when the river level rises too much.

"You know, you put 58 years in the place, 59 years - it's tough," said John Miller of Dubuque. "It's really all there is to say."

Miller is emotional at the thought of the place he grew to love, and still helps maintain everyday, may not exist in the future. This is because his parents, John Miller Sr. and Mary Miller, were co-founders.

There are other options, according to Miller. "They just wanna put a walkway down here which is nice. I mean I'm all for nature, but I don't really see how that's gonna attract more people."

City leaders have said the island is not being used to its full potential. "What we wanna do is see if we can dress up that area to attract more people to the island, to see the memorials, to visit the casino, visit the restaurants, visit the ice arena, and really make it a destination and attraction for everybody," said city council member, Kevin Lynch, who is also chairperson of the Chaplain Schmitt Island Task Force. 

Lynch said the campground is lacking in amenities. There are private ones in the area that can serve the same purpose. 

In general, the plans call for making the island more noticeable, because according to the presentation by consultants, some people do not realize it's an actual island.

To help attract people year-round, the plan includes adding an amphitheater for up to 15,000 people, a recreation tower with zip-lining or events like weddings, and lighting the Wisconsin Bridge with bright colors.

Located within the park is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. We're told the Tri-state Vietnam Veterans Association is against having the memorial relocated. 

According to city officials, the plans are not final. The first phase of the project is estimated to cost $3.1 million.

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