Davenport plans to build memorial for civil rights leader

April  21, 2014

      Plans are being made to build a memorial in Davenport for a legendary civil rights leader. Tomorrow, a task force will hold the first of several public meetings to discuss possible locations for a memorial for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

      Ryan Rusnak, from the Community Planning and Economic Development Department, says a King memorial is long overdue. 

      "Obviously in the city of Davenport, we've done a great job of celebrating the German history and the Irish history, but it's some of those other great people that we need to do a better job of. African-American history in the city of Davenport is certainly one of them. The City is just trying to commemorate that and show what great impacts have been made in the cit of Davenport."

      The task force was formed in January by Mayor Bill Gluba. And, since then, members have discussed how the memorial might look and where it could be. 

      "Really the task force wanted something that was just not just a statue, but a place where people could congregate, that they could learn, that they could just have events there and really enjoy the space, so it'd be much broader. 

      Rusnak says the task force is now considering five sites, all city-owned, where a memorial could be built. Members have researched King memorials in other cities, and have talked about having a peace garden or a statue of Dr. King hand-in-hand with children. 

      The task force will hold four public input meetings this month, with the first tomorrow from 6 to 8 pm at the Davenport Police Department's Community Room at 416 Harrison Street. 

(Photo: Prairie Heights Park, one of the possible sites of the King memorial. Photo courtesy of the City of Davenport.)