As Fly used to say, I get email. I got this one the other day from a QC resident who has quietly started his or her own blog about the Quad Cities. Its located at http://bridgetosomewhere.blogspot.com/. Obviously, this is a play on the infamous "bridge to nowhere," although I haven't heard quite as much complaining about that lately. In the email which I've posted below, Pioneer asks some good questions, such as how the area can get a good perception to outsiders. I've experienced some similar things with people who last visited Davenport in the 80's when the only thing that was happening downtown was historic buildings being demolished. They tend to say something like "Davenport? There's nothing to do there" and go to places like Peoria that have similar or even fewer attractions than the Quad Cities. I was amazed at how many people at WIU in Macomb didn't even know where the QC is located. Hopefully we can change that over the next few years.
I've been following the various blogs related to Davenport and the Quad
Cities that you guys have been running, and I've enjoyed reading them. I
just wanted to pose a question that you may consider as a subject for one of
your blogs, or maybe just for general discussion: How much of Davenport's
problems are purely perception?
To put it another way, it's the classic chicken-and-the-egg:
Do positive impressions about an area develop because it actually is a nice
Does an area become nice because people have positive impressions about it?
I think perception is a huge problem, but I may be biased. I grew up in
Davenport, went away for college and lived in other places around the
Midwest for about 8 years, before landing back here (a story for a different
time). I got to see firsthand how Davenport and the Quad Cities are
perceived around the Midwest. My first stop was in Southern rural
Wisconsin. Most people there assumed how glad I must be to be out of Iowa.
I usually told them I didn't see much difference between rural Wisconsin and
Iowa, and that, actually, I preferred Davenport because there was more to
do. My brother recently moved to Madison from Des Moines, and suffers
similar conversations frequently. He likes both Des Moines and Madison.
I experienced similar things elsewhere. The people who had heard of
Davenport or the Quad Cities usually had negative impressions. I think this
area does a very poor job about getting the word out about the good things
we have. So, most people assume we have nothing. All they hear is the news
reports about a plant closing, a crime, or the river flooding. The Figge
made a splash, but that good press is already fading.
Not sure if you've seen my blog (bridgetosomewhere.blogspot.com). I try to
stress the positive things happening in the area, because, quite frankly,
someone has to. I'm not trying to pretend that there aren't problems, or
that they shouldn't be discussed. I'm just trying to make a point that we
have GOOD things in this area, along with the bad that seem to get more
attention. I'm a big believer that changing perceptions goes a very long
way to changing reality.
I could talk for hours on this subject. What do you guys think?