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Residents with students at Longview Park

Residents attend a community meeting hosted by Augustana students at Rock Island's Longview Park to discuss the creation of a master plan. 

Augustana students envision future of Longview Park

Augustana College students will present the Longview Park master plan to the City of Rock Island Parks and Recreation Board on Tuesday, May 21. The plan will help guide leaders in making decisions for future upgrades and projects for the more than a century-old park, located at 18th Avenue and 17th Street. The public is invited to the 5:30 p.m. meeting at the Rock Island Fitness & Activity Center, 4303 24th St.

Residents at an input meeting

Rock Island residents attended an input meeting at Longview Park to learn about existing park features and offer guidance on what additions they would like to see.

Presenting students are enrolled in Augustana’s geography and environmental studies classes. The community-based research was spearheaded by Augustana’s Upper Mississippi Center in collaboration with the Rock Island Fitness & Activity Center. Leading student presenters include juniors Adriana Reyes and Ally Magsombol.

Dr. Chris Strunk, associate professor of geography at Augustana, said urban planning and environmental studies students have assessed the use of park facilities, which includes shelters, playgrounds, a greenhouse, basketball courts and walking paths. Students also organized public input sessions and visioning activities with community members and conducted a survey of nearly 500 residents.

“This hands-on research experience has been a great opportunity for students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom while also engaging with the residents of Rock Island,” he said. “In addition to growing their academic knowledge, students have helped to improve local planning efforts by incorporating community feedback into long-term plans for Longview Park."

This work embodies the goals of the college’s strategic plan, Bold & Boundless. The plan, endorsed by the college’s board of trustees in January 2024, prioritizes engaged learning, maximizing student potential and connection through partnership. The final tenet emphasizes the college’s connection with the City of Rock Island to contribute to neighborhood vitality, enhance neighborhoods around campus and be an engaged presence in the region. Learn more about Bold & Boundless.

Dr. Strunk said the master plan report uses insights from engagement initiatives to recommend additional recreational activities, such as a soccer field and a new design for a disc golf course. The report also recommends new signage to highlight the park’s history and the benefits of naturalized areas.

Additional recommendations include new bike path infrastructure to connect the park to bike trails and the city’s downtown and a plan for future community engagement activities.

Director of Parks and Recreation John Gripp said the master plan will be extremely important as the parks department plans for the future.

“Augustana has done an excellent job engaging the community, Friends of Longview Park, user groups and the Parks and Recreation Department to collect data to complete the plan,” he said. “This information will be used to apply for a state Open Space Lands Acquisition & Development Grant.”

If approved for the state grant, which provides funding assistance to local government agencies for acquisition and/or development of land for public parks and open space, the master plan will be put into action.

“We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Augustana,” Gripp said.


Nicole Lauer, 309-794-7645,

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