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Dubuque Unveils Possibilities for Schmitt Island Development

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DUBUQUE, Iowa — Baseball, boating and beaches. Those are just a few suggestions a consulting firm is suggesting the city of Dubuque adds to plans to redevelopment Schmitt Island. That island sits along the Mississippi River near the base of the Wisconsin Bridge.

It's already home to an ice arena, the Mystique casino, a Veterans' memorial and a campground. But consultants are suggesting ways to better connect all those attractions.

The group has been collecting public input for the past several months and the biggest thing they say people want is better access to the water.

On an early summer night, Wahlert Catholic High School baseball fans are dreaming of what could be.

Anthony Kemp said, “I could picture a bunch of future minor league players. And seeing a bunch of really talented kids before their career really started. “

But building a minor league baseball stadium on Schmitt Island is just one of the Cuningham Consulting Firm's many suggestions.

Cuningham's Andrew Dresdner said, “We want to help the city turn the island into a place where you can spend an afternoon, a weekend, anytime of the year.”

Boaters believe there needs to be more places to launch boats in and out of the river. The consultants agree that's an option.

Boater Logan Yaeger said, “It would definitely be a nice thing if they developed it and helped make a better marina with better docks and better ramps.”

Other considerations including expanding Miller Riverview Campground, building a public beach inside the Peosta Channel and developing a wetlands trail.

Several suggestions come with questions and criticisms.

Dubuque Walleye Club Member Ken Ginter said, “If they do put another boat ramp in they better have enough room to park between 250 and 300 boats on a weekend.”

And while parking is a big concern, so is the traffic flow on and off the Island. The consultants recommend the city installs a roundabout.

“It would slow down the traffic that comes off the highway, making it easier to get on the island in all directions,” said Dresdner.

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