EVERY now and then people, organizations and government come together in ways that exceed all expectations.
That appears to be what is happening with the redevelopment of Bob Bangert Park as a natural area. When the Mississippi Valley Hunters and Fishermen's Association and Quincy Park District reached an agreement last summer, it looked as if it would take three years to complete work on restoring part of the 26-acre park to wetlands, restoring prairie and developing savanna, planting some trees and putting in a water control system. Now it looks like the project could be completed a year earlier than planned.
"I've never seen anything like it," said Association President Glenn Sanders.
"It's not just the government agencies that moved so fast to help us on this. Various industries here in Quincy are saying: ‘We want to be part of this. We can see the value of this for enhancing not just the environment but enhancing the people's ability to interact with the wildlife.' "
In a city already blessed with an abundance of beautiful and varied parks, Bob Bangert Park will be unique. A series of levees will create a trail system. A wheelchair-accessible observation deck is planned. Wildlife is expected to return to the area near Bonansinga Drive and Quincy Bay.
The ultimate goal is to allow the park to be used for ecological and environmental programs.
"We want to make this a showcase-type wetland that demonstrates the value and educational purposes of wetlands," Sanders said.
The agreement approved in July calls for the association to make the improvements to the park, with the association and the Park District seeking grants to help cover costs. The district retains control of the land.
In addition to the Park District and Mississippi Valley Hunters and Fishermen's Association, the partners or supporters include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Craig Industries, Tracy Family Foundation, the Stammerjohn family and Rees Construction.
Sanders and Park District Executive Director Rome Frericks believe that work on the park can begin soon.
There's more work to be done, and there's time for more supporters to step forward.
Quincy's history is so intertwined with the Mississippi River that restoring Bob Bangert Park to a wetland and wildlife haven looks like a natural fit.