Friday, March 24, 2006

Repetition Does Not Equal Truth

A common refrain from the againsters is "we're spending all this money downtown, and nothing is coming of it." I hear this said constantly on the blogs, on the QCTimes.comments, at Hamerlinck's meeting, etc.

Its not true.

Downtown is doing much, much better than it was before River Renaissance. Driving through it tonight, there were people walking on almost every block. A new coffee shop just opened up in the former Java Hut. A new restaurant/bar just opened next door to another new bar, Shenanigans. The Mode gallery recently opened up on 3rd, and I could see several people browsing in there this evening. Final Fridays brings out hundreds of artists and art fans to the Bucktown Center for the Arts every month. Centro is always busy, and I often see large crowds at Mojo's listening to live music. Ad Group relocated to downtown, Chenhalls Staffing moved from Brady down the hill to 2nd street, and Living Passions opened up a studio/coffee shop. Developers are suddenly interested in redeveloping new areas of downtown, including the proposed market district.

The Davenport Lofts project is bringing hundreds of new residents to downtown. Alexander Company has said that they got interested in downtown Davenport because of our commitment shown through River Renaissance. The second phase of their loft apartments is under construction now, bringing additional local construction jobs with it. Secondary effects from the Alexander development include redevelopment of the Courtland into luxury apartments overlooking downtown. Houses around the area are being renovated, or at least re-sided. There are plans to demolish the old cement plan that Bill Wundram gets so upset about. All the new downtown residents are increasing the chances for more downtown commercial activity, including the possibility of a grocery store. The future has potential for additional mixed use development in the area between 4th and Federal and Iowa and River Drive, including the Crossings project under discussion. The Mississippi Hotel renovation will bring even more residents downtown, increasing street life and commercial demand.

You folks who oppose everything can keep telling yourselves that downtown is all empty museums and bridges to nowhere, but you're fooling yourselves.

River Renaissance is working.

67 Comments:

At 3/24/2006 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not an "againster" and I realize there is some activity downtown, but a few folks in some restraunts does not compensate for the terrible loss of our tax dollars. The RME only sells something like 20 tickets per week. The bridge to nowhere is a costly homeless shelter. The Figgie is a morgue most of the time, the parking lots are always half empty and the IMAX bleeds red ink. the idea that a few gardeners and some craftspeople would make a difference in the Freighthouse is bunk. Larry Whittey has said he has a couple of million invested there already, and he will find his own commercial tenant without taxpayer assistance. Lets let him do it. If at the end of his five year commercial lease he is still a failure, then we can consider a taxpayer bailout.

 
At 3/24/2006 10:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cons Demo here:

Well izzant that speshull.

Alright, having said that, my true feelings aren't far off the cynical ones. OK, that's nice.

I would though that every bit of it be done with private capital. I don't want a penny of it to be done with public monies _FROM ANY LEVEL OF TAXPAYER FUNDING_. No Municipal, no County, no State, no Federal. None - zero - nada!

Let the Happy Joes and Lee Enterprises and Bernie Goldsteins or whoever it currently is put their OWN monies into these projects and live or die by the success (or lack thereof) of the project.

And whoever owns the place would have to pay the taxes ON-TIME right from the first day of ownership. No tax deals!!!!!!!

 
At 3/24/2006 10:44 PM, Blogger pioneer98 said...

It would have been a bigger waste to send all those gambling tax dollars to Des Moines and get nothing in return. We are talking about a lot more than "a few folks in restaurants", and the Adler isn't even open yet. This is only the beginning. Rebuilding a downtown is a very long-term process. Give it time.

It would be great if Larry Whitty could do something with the Freight House. If he continues to fail, we wouldn't be bailing out Larry Whitty, we'd be bailing out our own downtown. We'd be finally making good use of a vacant building in the heart of it. The gardeners and craftspeople ALREADY make a difference in our downtown. They just do it twice a week from May to October right now.

 
At 3/24/2006 11:11 PM, Blogger cruiser said...

Just the tax breaks the Alexander Co. is already recieving negate all the taxes from residential property SOLO in the area. River Rennaisance will cost more in lost revenue to the city than it will bring in. What happens in 10 years if Alexander sells these buildings having paid no taxes and moves on? Gives them one hell of a profit margin on meager expenses paid. And when all is said and done we're still going to need new sewers and a lot of road work. If people aren't coming from out of town because of the speed cameras this area cannot be self-supporting. I hope I'm wrong, but I fear I'm not.

 
At 3/25/2006 1:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:11 pm you are not wrong. Why is everybody so afraid to let the millionaire, Larry Whittey, take a stab at his own success. And by the way, the gardeners and craftspeople who are downtown now don't even want this stupid project. Does anybody really think that another competing farmer's market with a few small time mom and pop gardeners is going to be a worthwhile project? Let Larry Whittey get a grocery store down there. He is looking for that or some other major retailer right now. Give him a chance to succeed, don't buy him out at taxpayer expense. Hell, the Davenport One plan for a few small time merchants is likely to be even less successful then the River Music Experience. I know the cashier there. Most of the time, they don't even sell twenty tickets per week.

 
At 3/25/2006 6:32 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

You don't just spend some money and instantly a vibrant downtown pops in within 2 years. This is a work in progress. My point was that it IS progressing.

From what I can tell on the Scott County website, the Alexander Company projects pay taxes on the property's worth before renovation. Yes, this is an incentive. The same people who harp about Davenport being "business unfriendly" sure get mad when we are friendly by giving incentives. How is not paying for stormwater different from paying less for property taxes? Apparently being more business friendly means smiling handshakes? I'm also not sure if I'd consider it lost revenue to get the same taxes we had before the project. Especially when you consider that the people who have moved into the building from Illinois, Kansas, Michigan and Pennsylvania are all now paying Davenport sales taxes. If this project wasn't down here, maybe they would have chosen to live in a loft apartment in downtown Rock Island.

Just as we've seen with 53rd, Utica Ridge, John Deere Rd, or Elmore, people want to develop where others are developing. If we create excitement and activity in the downtown, more residents and businesses will come. More residents and businesses create a more vibrant downtown which attracts more residents and businesses. Our Chamber of Commerce (D1 is just a catchy name) understands this, but what would they know about.. commerce.

 
At 3/25/2006 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cons Demo here:

Our blog janitor writes:
"businesses. Our Chamber of Commerce (D1 is just a catchy name) understands this, but what would they know about.. commerce. "

CofC types are local lobbyists with a very selfish agenda, so don't go attributing them with concepts like idealism or civic largess. Their knowledge of . . "commerce" . . is driven by that selfish interest and directed towards perpetuating that same interest.
NOTE! That's not saying either CofC people or selfish agendas are particularly bad, just a plain-word statement of what they are. Don't place them on a pedistal.

 
At 3/25/2006 7:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I made a spelling boo there in pedestal, damn!

 
At 3/25/2006 8:15 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

I'm certainly not putting them on a pedestal. (no idea how to spell that either) I just think its hypocritical that people slam on Davenport for being unfriendly to businesses, slam on them for being too friendly, slam on D1 for being all about businesses instead of people, but then also assume they are in favor of downtown development out of spite? They support downtown because downtown could be an amenity to attract more business, which is their goal.

Sure, they're not supporting downtown necessarily "for the good of the people," but if we attract more businesses because of a vibrant downtown, isn't that good for the people as a secondary effect?

 
At 3/25/2006 8:55 AM, Blogger pioneer98 said...

The Freight House (and the future use of tax dollars) are open for debate, but I can't believe we're still debating River Renaissance. The vote was 5 years ago.

Calling these amenities a failure accomplishes nothing, whether it is true or not. If River Renaissance is a failure, please, tell me what your plan is to revitalize our downtown. I'd like to hear it.

 
At 3/25/2006 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the opportunity. RR is a failure, and the solution is to do the best with what we have, and not continue to make the same mistakes. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. We have the bridge to nowhere, the RME, the Figgie, the new branch library, the empty parking garages the IMAX, enough already!!! The Rock Island district thrives from having a few anchor stores (Bennigans and some hotels) but no big government projects. QCI you are wrong, nobody including the current group of farmer's market merchants, even wants this new project. Let Whittey put his own commercial tenant in there without our help. He has said he would do it, so let him do it. Who the hell are we to interfere? That will bring more people downtown anyway.
What makes you think if you move the farmer's market inside, significantly more people will come? How come RME only sells 20 tickets per week?????? We seriously do need to answer that question, by the way.

Oh, and a wake up call. This is the Quad Cities; Davenport is not an island. It is no problem to go from one City to another, so amenities do not keep people in one very small geographical area. I will go to Bettendorf this morning to shop at Schnooks. I don't give a rat's ass if Davenport has a sky bridge, I am still going to Schnooks. Don't kid yourself; development is spurred on by private amenities. Last night, I went to Milan for dinner to eat at a Japanese restaurant. All privately funded, all with no taxpayer subsidies. That is how the real world works. And we don't need to bankrupt the taxpayers, just let it work.

 
At 3/25/2006 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, pioneer98, Amen.

 
At 3/25/2006 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Until we look at the entire package with the dowtown then it will continue to fail. It may look nice, but go up the hill or West. We will not prosper until we take the revitalization of the solo neighborhoods seriosly. Private money is the key to a lot of this, but private money won't come unless those investors see a real commitment from this city and city all to change.

This means zero tolerance when it comes to housing codes, crime and slum properties. This means that we use our tax dollars wisely, all fo them, including HUD money (low income $). It doesn't mean that we aren't compassionate, just smarter about it. We have created a poverty no mans land south of locust. It is filled with slum, blight, criminals, sex offenders, and homeless people. WE have allowed this to happen. In case you haven't noticed, River Ren. is just a hop skip and a jump away from this blight. Dahh!

I can just hear visitors saying "gee that RME was nice, but don't travel a block in either direction".

 
At 3/25/2006 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 10:10 am, you hit the nail on the head. And, the other problem is nobody is going to RME in the first place. We need to focus on streets and services, enough with the taxpayer projects!

I agree with the earlier poster. We cannot spend another dime downtown till we know why RME only gets 20 visitors per week. Is anybody out there? Does anybody care?

 
At 3/25/2006 10:21 AM, Blogger pioneer98 said...

Thanks for pointing out again that these amenities are struggling. I'm going to see what more I can do to support them. Maybe others could do the same.

So the plan is:
Public sector: Do nothing.
Private sector: Work their magic.

Didn't we try that during the 80s and 90s? Isn't that how our downtown got run down in the first place? And didn't the private sector put a big chunk of money into RR? I seem to remember something about the phrase "public-private partnership".

 
At 3/25/2006 10:24 AM, Blogger pioneer98 said...

P.S. I do agree with 10:10 about zero tolerance on housing codes, crime, slum properties, etc. I'm not saying the amenities downtown are the cure-all for the city. They are a starting point.

 
At 3/25/2006 10:36 AM, Anonymous edwzipper said...

"Centro is always busy." No, they're not. They would like to be. The projections they had when they started the business has never been reached. They are not even close to always busy. So says the staff....

 
At 3/25/2006 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pulic sector has done more than enough already. How come public sector, by comparison, does not do half as much in Bettendorf, Moline or Rock Island, and all three are doing better than Davenport. Support what is down there now? Sure, I agree. Build more? No way.

 
At 3/25/2006 3:17 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

The parking garage thing is really one of my pet peeves. The city should never have budgeted for 100% usage. I actually don't think that they believed they would be full, but instead were dishonest in order to pacify people about building them.

However, why in the world should they be full at this point? You don't building something new and have it instantly at full capacity. That just means you need to build another one right away. You build parking garages with some extra capacity for future growth. If the parking garages were full all the time, we'd have the same downtown problem we've had for 20 years: hard-to-find parking.

Also, before everyone starts believing the 20 people per week quote about RME, we should probably find out if its actually true. I fully admit that its struggling, but I don't know about 20 people per week. Sounds like another untruthful fact to support the negative side.

 
At 3/25/2006 3:23 PM, Blogger WindingHills said...

We need better advertisment of bus routes to/from downtown.

All the cops cruisin' downtown are preventing myself and other young people from going to the bars and spending lots of money & taxes on booze and food!

All the bars = lots of drinking
Lots of drinking + lots of cops = lots of dui's
Lots of Public Transportation + lots of bars + lots of cops = everyone is happy and drunk:)

 
At 3/25/2006 5:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A new parking lot will rise on the river side and the RME is about to become a bar.

 
At 3/25/2006 7:21 PM, Blogger Liberal Lion said...

"The Rock Island district thrives from having a few anchor stores (Bennigans and some hotels) but no big government projects."

Yet, its two movie theaters shut down and they opened the pedestrian area back to car traffic because the pedestrian walk way wasn't working.

"Pulic sector has done more than enough already. How come public sector, by comparison, does not do half as much in Bettendorf, Moline or Rock Island, and all three are doing better than Davenport."

Didn't E. Moline give away the farm for their pork plant? Bettendorf is investing heavily in both their river front redevelopment and of course the new business park.

"RR is a failure..."

I don't think we will truly know if River Renaissance is a failure until it is completely finished and it has had some time to to get settled. Construction didn't really get underway until 2002 and the cornerstones of River Renaissance have been open a short time (Figge) or aren't quite ready yet (Ag Tech Center). I think it is amusing to call the skybridge a failure...it just stands there and looks cool.

 
At 3/25/2006 7:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know a lady that works at RME. She has confirmed the 20 tickets per week, in fact it is sometimes even less. She says it is a ghost town most of the day. Time to close the place down, apparently.

 
At 3/25/2006 7:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard a rumor that D1 is going to give $100,000.00 to Centro to prop it up and keep it going.

 
At 3/25/2006 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work downtown and love to go to the RME for coffee and a begal with CC - but that is just $3.10 for the cause about 2xs per week. Other then that, I may got here with the kids for a weekend coffee and roll or something. Again - not a lot spent there.

Centros is good - love the salads and chicken pasta dishes.

The thing is that is never filled with people - not enough to support it.

Davenport is not the hub D1 thinks it is. I don't know why. It isn't attracting people other than in the summer for fests. Perhaps the boat/hotel will help. It isn't exciting or unique. It should have been left a nice rivertown - small and nice. Downtown is too expensive and the rest of the city is suffering. The housing is slummy, the streets are in bad shape, the crime is out of control and the place is falling apart. We spend our $$ on maintaining amenities and bailing them out instead of basic stuff. The last two councils are too blame.

 
At 3/25/2006 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To blame - sorry.

 
At 3/25/2006 9:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Davenport continues to try and sell a puzzle without all the pieces, but they keep saying "trust us, all the pieces are there." What do they intend to do for the Brady Street corridor is a couple pieces not in the box.

Davenport is anti-business because they only have an interest in hitting homeruns for the big score. The indoor sports dome on Brady is a nice base hit, but Davenport only belittled the project when it was proposed.

I am not a Lujack's fan, but Pete Pohlmann should be at least screaming a little about the stormwater fees, and all the redlight/speed cameras within spitting distance of his and the other car dealers. Just what is the sales tax on a Lexus or BMW?

 
At 3/25/2006 10:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are quite right about all of the spending. It is downright anti business unless your business is some money losing non profit TIF deal. That is the reason that Schnooks went to Bettendorf, even though they originally purchased (and still own) land in Davenport.

The folks that make money at D1
are people like Chuck Ruhl. The Freighthouse fiasco is a classic example. Everybody knows that a farmer's market would fail down there. But, D1 (and Chuck Ruhl) would get about $100,000.00 per year for a management fee. So, that is all they care about. In the meantime, Larry Whittey really has no particular desire to sell the Freighthouse, he has 2 million in improvements and will probably soon find a successful tenant to take it over. D1 wants to make him an offer which is too good to pass up from taxpayer monies just so they can get that $100,000.00 per year management contract for Chuck Ruhl. The D1 staff is paid very well to serve old Chucky. Other useful idiots just keep drinking the Kool-Aide and mouthing support.

 
At 3/25/2006 10:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The RME is attempting to steer towards a new direction and hopefully will be able to generate more revenue/ticket sales in the near future.

The Redstone Room opens next month and they have booked 22 shows for April/May so far. Full schedule is at - www.redstoneroom.org

 
At 3/26/2006 1:31 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

There are so many rumors and "I heard from..." statements on this thread that you can't tell what to believe. The truth is probably where it usually, is, in the middle. I'm sure there are more problems than I'd like with the downtown redevelopment, but I know there are a lot more good things happening than the againsters want to admit.

 
At 3/26/2006 1:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RME needs an aligator, some otters and a giant snapping turtle to get more than 20 sales per week. A bar isn't going to make the place into the museum that Dubuque has. It's a failure. The only people profiting from the RME are the construction company and people who owned the building.

As you look at other downtown development deals, keep those two players in mind. And while you're at it, look at who controls D1. It's not the "Main Street" businesses you'd like to think. It's building contractors and real estate moguls.

There's a big difference between being pro-business and functioning as a contractor/realtor welfare program. D1 and the city of Davenport function as a welfare program for downtown property owner, the Estes Corp, and the others similarly situated.

Pro-business isn't writing checks to these people. It's making it easy for people to do business in your town.

 
At 3/26/2006 1:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And QCI, it's dishonest to characterize the people who are opposed to spending money on D1's downtown pet projects as "againsters".

We're for better delivery of basic services. We're for better accountability in the city staff, we're for keeping taxes low to discourage people from moving to Eldridge, we're for getting our police department to a level where they can address property crimes (instead of telling you to piss off if you've had something worth less than a new car stolen, talk to a victim for more info), we're for keeping our roads driveable (how long was Kimberly and Eastern tore up last year, one of the busiest intersections in the state?) we're for tons of things.

You and the D1 types want to categorize us as "againsters." If that means we're against corporate welfare and against neglecting non-downtown parts of the city, well sign me up. But don't try to characterize me as "against everything" because I don't support your wasteful pet projects. Repetition will not make it true.

 
At 3/26/2006 2:18 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

They're apparently the "pet projects" of over 70% of Scott County voters.

 
At 3/26/2006 6:54 AM, Blogger cruiser said...

This RME debate is getting a little crazy to my way of thinking. Comparing to the Dubuque River Museum is like comparing apples to oranges. I'm sure when the museum was built up there people were saying it was crazy. I have been to the museum up there and plan to go again. How many of you people have actually been to RME to know what it's like? I haven't yet but plan to. The River Center could be considered a failure, I say give RME a little time before dooming it to extinction.

 
At 3/26/2006 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'll go once, spend an hour, wonder what there is other than the wall, realize there's nothing else, and never go back.

 
At 3/26/2006 9:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, I HAVE been to RME, and I went with an open mind. In fact, I did not even think about the cost until I got in there and was severely dissapointed. Just a wall, nothing much more. Sure, the pictures on the wall were kind of cool with the projector's technology, but even that went down while I was there and I was faced with a Microsoft windows screen. Dissapointing to say the least. Then I looked into the cost. Holy cow! Not worth the millions that went into it. And, 20 tickets per week speaks for itself. What is all this "give it time" crap about? If a business did that poorly, then the "closed" sign would be up by now. Happens all the time in the real world.

All I can say is, don't take millions of my tax dollars and throw up a farmer's market of small time merchants who will also fail. Let Larry Whittey do his own
project. Just say NO to corporate welfare.

 
At 3/26/2006 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

QuadCityImages said...
They're apparently the "pet projects" of over 70% of Scott County voters.

I was one of the 70% who voted for the referendum. 5 years later I accept that I did; however I STRONGLY OBJECT to you QCI and all the D1 talking heads and city leaders perverting my vote on River Renaissance and using it to justify spending $$$$$$$$$$ for more downtown stuff. I DID NOT VOTE for "Phase 2" River Vision, nor has anyone else in Scott County. The River Renaissance vote was for $5million for the COUNTY to invest -- Davenport city residents were not asked then, and are not being asked now, to vote on investing millions of CITY RAISED dollars.

Just because I said yes 5 years ago for a COUNTY-WIDE investment, you have no right to throw that in anyone’s face and use it like some kind of perverse fake mandate to proceed further. 5 years later I see that projects were NOT built or owned as intended. They are NOT operating as described. And most certainly they are NOT cash flowing or creating jobs as projected. If I were asked for my vote on spending $millions of LOCAL dollars on River Vision I would vote NO. (All capital letters INTENDED.)

 
At 3/26/2006 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree - the vote was years ago before this town got wise to the waste and before we elected a council and Mayor who exploited the people and their vote. RR was marketed differently then it is. D1 needs to be disbanded and a real chamber put in place. I have heard Dan Huber say that the opposition from the 'againsters' just makes the organization puch harder. My perspective - he means push harder to waste our resources and line the pockets of the board and its members (the Ruhls, the Fosters, etc.) It goes beyond that though - look at the tentacles - Maryellen, the Boat, the real estate people, even John Lewis and the other not for profits. They are all a tangled web of dysfunctional spending. I rub you - you rub me. While all the time, the tax payers are getting rubbed the wrong way.

 
At 3/26/2006 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

History, not hindsight, is helpful. snips from the River City Reader four days before the 2001 River Renaissance Referendum

http://www.rcreader.com/display_article.php3?index=1&artid=618&month=10


"What’s at Stake?
The AgTech Venture Capital Center – at least in its downtown form – and the River Music History Center will probably die without Vision Iowa money. In the city’s application, the DavenportOne Foundation would buy – using $6.3 million in Vision Iowa money – the bottom floor of the AgTech Venture Capital Center and the bottom three floors of the Redstone building (the River Music History Center) from Kaizen Company of America, which will be putting $12.7 million into the buildings under the plan.

The partners in Kaizen – local developers Chuck Ruhl and Kent Pilcher – typically require a significant amount of “pre-leasing” before moving forward with a project, and in this case that means the DavenportOne Foundation’s commitment. Ruhl and Pilcher have said they will walk away if the Vision Iowa money doesn’t come through, and Kaizen’s option to purchase the Redstone building is contingent on Vision Iowa funds.

In the absence of the River Music History Center and new financing, the skybridge project would probably also collapse."

 
At 3/26/2006 11:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.rcreader.com/display_article.php3?index=1&artid=618&month=10

"Open Dialogue?
According to Davenport City Administrator Craig Malin, the public will also have every opportunity to ensure that the different parties involved in River Renaissance are living up to their promises. Although the contract is not yet written between the state and project developers, Malin said his expectation will be that “any document related to a public expenditure is a public document.” For example, even though Kaizen Company of America wouldn’t directly receive any state money for the River Music History Center or the AgTech Venture Capital Center, the company’s expenditures on the buildings would be public record because it will receive Vision Iowa money indirectly through the DavenportOne Foundation."

 
At 3/26/2006 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.rcreader.com/display_article.php3?index=1&artid=618&month=10

"Places at the Table
The number and diversity of groups and people who’ve lined up behind River Renaissance is impressive, but the question remains whether the coalition will hold if and when the funding is finalized, and beyond. Huber and many of the co-chairs of Scott County Taxpayers for River Renaissance said it would.

This alliance for River Renaissance was first and foremost built on convenience and need, and it’s easy to be skeptical that DavenportOne is giving more than lip service to its partners as the River Renaissance vote approaches.

Huber hinted that if the referendum passes, it will be important to keep in mind that input does not necessarily translate into influence."

 
At 3/26/2006 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen. You guys have the real facts here. QCI, you are somebody who is somewhat middle of the road on things. How about advocating for private money for the freight house?

 
At 3/26/2006 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"... input does not necessarily translate into influence."

Surely that's got to be part of D1's mission statement. We know it's part of the citys.

 
At 3/26/2006 11:30 AM, Blogger Liberal Lion said...

Anon at 10:32 AM

It is absolutely fair for QCI and others to throw your vote in your face. The idols the "againsters" reference time and time again as wasteful are River Renaissance projects.

Precisely how has the argue for River Renaissance not been met? River Renaissance is an investment in decaying urban core and in investment in the future growth and development of Davenport. How hasn't the argument been met?

No city in America - faced with a decaying urban core - has relied on private investment alone. Public money and city government are necessary. In fact, they have an obligation to steer projects like River Renaissance.

 
At 3/26/2006 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The RR vote is exploited to justify spending money on new projects IN ADDITION to RR. The projects on the drawing board WERE NOT part of RR. Again, my vote in 2001 is not justification for the new spending plans by the city of Davenport.

 
At 3/26/2006 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot take back my vote in 2001 for the projects that got built. I can look at them now and judge if my vote was well cast, and the monies spent as a result were well spent. I can also use the time and experience gained since the RR Referendum to form my viewpoint today. No, I do not support the continued pace and level of public investment proposed for River Vision.

 
At 3/26/2006 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember when the sports dome went up on Brady Street. Clayton Lloyd said the project didn't make the best use of the area. The city would have preferred something else. That's pretty lousy support for private, homegrown economic development, and voiced by the city's CE&D Director. That's what people mean whent they say Davenport is not business friendly. It wasn't a D1 project.

 
At 3/26/2006 1:10 PM, Blogger sensible sally said...

Listen, it doesnt matter if RR is working, or if the investment in public funds is beginning to grow the tax base, or if tourism has begun to increase... the againsters will never be able to reconcile any type of public expenditure for amenities. I wonder what Rome would look like but for public amenities, or Venice, or Granada, or D.C. or Mumbai, or Tokyo, or any other city with civic spirit. and really i think thats the heart of the problem with the againsters. They have absolutely no civic spirit. They dont really care if downtown succeeds or if our city is a pleasant place to live, as long as their tax dollars are as low as possible, and provide the maximum amount of services. All these people will ever do is complain. They have nothing positive to contribute. Great naming QCI

 
At 3/26/2006 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sally you'll recall that most of the "civic pride" projects you cite were built with slave labor. Not very sensible if you ask me. The projects in DC (at least the most recent ones, the Vietnam Wall and the WWII memorial) were built with private contributions, not with gun to your head pay it or go to jail tax money.

Read the title of this post. Repetition does not equal truth. Knock it off with this "againster" crap because it's intellectually dishonest and completely lazy.

River Rennesance was sold to the public as the injection of a relatively small ammount of county dollars into the downtown to make it attractive for private investment. What we have are five (or is it six?) shiny new parasitic downtown structures (to add to the Rivercenter) sapping city dollars that should be spent putting more police on the street, taking care of the sewer system in the first place, and attracting real (ie non-big box retail) jobs and businesses to the city. That's what we're for, that's what a city's number one priority should be.

Instead you and your easy-types let Ruhl, Foster, and the rest of the D1 cornies stick it up Davenport's behind in the name of "civic pride"? They're laughing all the way to the bank and we're rubbing our asses for years.

 
At 3/26/2006 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sensible Sally would be better renamed as Superior Sally, a gal who prefers to throw her hands up in the air and huff away instead of getting in the debate.

The outcome of RR definietly matters. I voted for it and I'l be paying for it for another 10-15 years. I've paid for enough amenities downtown thank you very much. Now can I have my road paved? When WILL it be the right time to get my road paved? Sorry Sally, I'm pretty talented but I can't contribute to pouring a block of concrete road except through my tax dollars.

The public amenities of Rome were historical ruins built by slave labor and an overtaxed population. Rome fell.

Venice is constantly fighting sea floods and the devastating effects of pullution brought on by overdevelopment and tourism. The city neglected to invest sufficiently in public works projects and is sliding into the sea.

D.C. One of my personal favorite cities. Plenty of pride supported by the resources of an entire nation, not just the city itself. It is also an incredibly wealthy community and can afford the pride. Recall until very recently the most dangerous and pathetic area of the city was neighborhoods just outside Capitol Hill. Maybe still is. The transient population of Capitol Hill legislators and tourists just steered clear of D.C.'s "central city" equivalent. Not the kind of civic pride I want Davenport to emulate.

As for the other cities, I'm unversed so will not comment.

 
At 3/26/2006 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:45 You are the Sensible One.

 
At 3/26/2006 3:41 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Where were all you people at the RiverVision meetings if you're so against that? They were actually well-attended, at least compared to the Davenport 2025 Comprehensive Plan meetings. There was also quite a bit of consensus for the plan. I believe River Vision would even pass a referendum, but almost certainly not by the large margin that RR was passed by. There is a silent majority out there that wants to see downtown come back, and are willing to help pay for it.

As far as the Freight House, I've said in a previous post that D1 or someone other than the city needs to pay for the study of the project. I wouldn't be opposed to the city spending some money on the actual project IF it attracts surrounding investment. I don't see how building them a million dollar market so they can sell their district to the yuppies as a market district is any different from giving them a million dollar property tax break. As I've said before, the question is how much does a developer need to invest to get a million bucks from the city? Even many of the most hardcore againsters would probably support it if it were $100 million, whereas almost nobody would support it if it were a 2 million dollar investment. This project is somewhere in between, and probably towards the lower end.

 
At 3/26/2006 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the question of investing more public dollars for River Vision is presented to the citizens of Davenport in a votable referendum format, and passes, then QCI you will have a defensible argument.

Citizens attending a community meeting to discuss the future of the riverfront does not equate to giving public officials carte blanche power to tax me for its implementation.

 
At 3/26/2006 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes QCI - I agree the there are many who want to see the downtown come back, but not at the expense of the rest of the decaying urban area. Just by having the downtown come back won't automatically bring back the surrounding neighborhoods. It isn't a given - it will take work and lots of it. Work that is already being done by some of the neighborhood groups. The groups that are not involved with a not for profit. Those are the same people being ignored by the city staff and the others. Why are they ignored, because they are viewed as bringing no $$ to the table - that is why they are ignored. What we should do is understand that the leadership of some of these groups are smart and well connected. They can help bring the solo back, but they are also smart enough to not waste their precious time dicking around with inept staff and ignorant leaders who wouldn't know urban revitalization if it slapped them in the face.

 
At 3/26/2006 5:05 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

As far as RiverVision, all I was saying was that if you had an opinion on it, you should have come to the public process that created it.

I fully agree that the surrounding areas around downtown are extremely important. The Harrison corridor is a big one, but so are the River Drive and Rockhingham routes. The new River Drive wall helps on the East side, but West River Drive doesn't have much in the way of a welcome. It would also be nice to drive up Iowa St to Locust without having to wait for cars stopped with people leaning in the windows completing various transactions. Hopefully the re-renovated Courtland will be just the first piece of redevelopment reaching into the area north of here.

 
At 3/26/2006 6:29 PM, Blogger sensible sally said...

if its intellectually lazy for me to use the term againsters, then why dont you all start using blogger ids so we can associate your opinions with a name.

I want to live in a city thats pretty, i want to live in a city that has art and culture. I want to go to a great art museum without having to drive three hours to chicago. I want to be able to see broadway shows, i want to be able to access good libraries, i want to live a cosmopolitan lifestyle and yes i want to stand on the bridge to nowhere so i can enjoy magnificent views of the river. Is this worth the sacrifice ABSOLUTELY. To me art, culture, (should i say intellectual civilization) are more important than the occaisional pothole or the garbage and stormwater fees.

Is it so hard to see why impoverished minds want to impoverish the city by refusing to participate in civic pride and amenities?

It is easy to bemoan taxed contributions to amenities when you werent contributing anything in the first place.

You want your street fixed? Your street is in better condition than the vast majority of roads through out the rest of the world.

Why couldnt private money have been used for RR?? well the vast majority was private funds. However privitization means the ability to limit public access. Whats the use of any of these amenities to any of use who cant afford to help build them privately?

 
At 3/26/2006 9:36 PM, Anonymous Working Stiff said...

Superior Sally,

Not all of us share your "holier than thou" attitude. You may want to visit a great art museum, but that ain't never gonna happen in Davenport Iowa, population 98,000 and shrinking. Broadway shows? Give me a break! The libraries are good, and the best one is in Bettendorf. Your Davenport card works there, by the way. You are more than welcom to stand on the bridge to nowhere and take in the smell of stale urine from the homeless. Nobody else seems to want to join you.

More to the point, you hoitie toitie bitch, if you want a cosmopolitan lifestyle, move your ass to Chicago. You can pay the taxes there to go with it. This is prime midwestern farm country; and we are proud of it. Lets make this the best midwestern city we can and lets start by getting our sewers unclogged, lowering taxes and attracting private business.

 
At 3/26/2006 10:31 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

I doubt many people would have considered Davenport a small farm community through its history. It was a trading area, an industrial center, sawmill town, etc. We've become LESS of a big city throughout the years. The QC had pro football and basketball teams that played against the Bears and Celtics. We were one of the largest automakers in the US until the Velie brothers died. Look at pictures of downtown streets crowded with people visiting some of the most modern buildings of their time, and tell me we were a small farming town. Its the attitude that we are just a bigger version of Eldridge and anyone who doesn't think so is "trying to be Chicago." that bothers me. Davenport was once a major midwestern city, and could be again.

 
At 3/27/2006 1:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Davenport cannot become a major city by pretending to be things it is not. A few mediocre projects like the Brooke bridge to nowhere do not do anything for us but waste our tax dollars. The way to get Davenport to be a great city is to encourage new business and residents. That is a simple equation: Lower taxes and good streets and services.

 
At 3/27/2006 1:56 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

People don't MOVE here for that stuff. Unless someone gets a job in a certain city, there has to be some particular amenity that causes them to move there. Sure, there are some people who probably say "wow, these streets are smooth, I'm moving here." I think a lot more likely would be, "wow, the recreational trail system here is one of the best in the nation" or "this city seems to take art and culture seriously." The skybridge may not draw someone to Davenport, but the view they get from it might.

 
At 3/27/2006 4:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello QCI

Could you have edited out the profanity in the he 9:36 post? It degrades your blog. I don't agree with Sal on this thread but the name calling isn't deserved.

 
At 3/27/2006 7:26 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Unfortunately, without turning on comment moderation, I can't edit comments, only delete them. With comment moderation on, discussion is delayed and people can lose interest. I suspect anyone with an interest in Davenport politics has probably heard that word before, but like you said, its not called for. HOPEFULLY, we can try to avoid profanity around here in the future.

 
At 3/27/2006 8:57 AM, Blogger Liberal Lion said...

Anon at 1:35 AM...

Just a correction, since Yerington was the actual architect behind River Renaissance, you should call it not the "Brooke Bridge to Nowhere" but the "Yerington Bridget to Nowhere."

 
At 3/27/2006 2:13 PM, Blogger sensible sally said...

Working stiff,
You might want to take QCI's advice and do your homework. It might help with your vocab too.

Farm country? the vast majority of Iowans live in cities and urban areas? Davenport has always until the 80s been known for its cosmopolitanism. Look at the great philanthropic magnates who built this place, Figge, Ficke, Putnam, Palmer, Kahl... the list goes on. Doesnt sound too much life farm country to me.

Should i be condemned for wanting to live an educated, cultured lifestyle? Or should we perhaps tell the small minority, to which you most certainly belong, to head for the hills with the other billys with whom, and with whose intellect, you seem to be most comfortable.

 
At 3/27/2006 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It is easy to bemoan taxed contributions to amenities when you werent contributing anything in the first place.

You want your street fixed? Your street is in better condition than the vast majority of roads through out the rest of the world."

That's possibly the dumbest thing I've ever seen on the internet.


Sally, you're welcome to enjoy whatever arty thing you like. Should you be condemned? Absolutely not. You should, however, be prepared to pay for it. Don't ask your neighbors to subsidize your entertainment options. Especially not at the cost of basic services.

 
At 3/27/2006 5:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Silly Sally strikes again! You like pretty things but the streets can crumble. Ummmm, yeah. Great logic there sista!

 
At 3/30/2006 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep - the Lofts are bringing hundreds more low income people to the central city - just what we need more of....

 

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