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Crews at Modern Woodmen Park prepare for opening day as flood water surrounds ballpark

The ballpark has used a bridge in the past to get fans in stadium, but trains in the area need to be stopped in order to install the bridge and the river is not...

DAVENPORT, Iowa - The flood walls at Modern Woodmen Park in downtown Davenport are keeping water from the flooding Mississippi River out of the ballpark.

The new issue is that the flood water is also keeping people out of the ballpark.

On March 27, Jacqueline Holm, General Manager of Quad City River Bandits told WQAD News 8 that, out of the nearly 25 full-time employees at Modern Woodmen Park, only about half are able to make it into the office.

"Due to the conditions of what is going at Modern Woodman Park, the flood wall is completely up," said Holm. "We are completely enclosed."

Operations-based employees are on site, while employees who can work remotely, using the internet, are working from home.

Holm said teams need to use ladders and a special staircase provided by the City of Davenport to access the ballpark.

With opening night on April 4 quickly approaching, leaders at the ballpark are now trying to figure out how to get people into the stadium.

Holm said the players are expected to arrive in the Quad Cities on Saturday, and practice will begin on Monday, April 1.

Leaders are meeting on Friday, March 29 to try and find an alternate way to get staff, players, equipment, deliveries and fans into the stadium.

The ballpark has used a bridge in the past, however trains in the area need to be stopped in order to install the bridge.

In the past, when the river is above a certain point, trains are stopped and the bridge can be installed.

On Thursday morning, the river was sitting at 18.33 feet and trains were still moving through the water in that area.

While the river is expected to rise even further before game day, Holm said they need to look at all of their options.

"Sometimes (the chance of canceling games is) 50-50, and until you can get a little closer to that day, hedging your bets at this point is not something we are prepared to do." said Holm.  "We are, of course, prepared to play baseball, and we will operate as such until we hear different."

Holm said the City of Davenport has been very cooperative, but both the ballpark and the city are at the mercy of Mother Nature and of the trains.

Aside from the flooding, Holm said the ballpark is in great shape and is ready to go for the new season of baseball.

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