Friday, December 29, 2006

IOC now considering screwing 2 downtowns

Bettendorf event center over budget, temporarily delayed -QCTimes

So Bettendorf is holding off on their IOC-sponsored competition for the RiverCenter. According to the article, its a combination of being over budget and worrying about IOC's sudden desire to reexamine what they're doing around here.

I'm not sure where the worries are in Bettendorf, because I can't see them abandoning all they've done down there. I mean, the 2nd hotel tower isn't even open yet. If only they had something besides their ugly boat/building-on-a-barge tying them to downtown Davenport.

As I've said many times, I'm no lawyer, but I wonder what happens if Davenport takes a hard line and holds them to their agreement. If IOC backs out of the riverfront project, will they owe us compensation? Of course, I don't know if any lawyers read this, but I'm sure we'll see anonymous people claiming to be lawyers telling us how it is. I wish that the Isle understood that not every casino needs to be a mirror image of Riverside to compete. I'd rather visit a downtown casino than a sprawling resort casino any day. I doubt I'm the only one.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another open thread?

Yes, another one.

I said there were gonna be holiday time open threads in lieu of much content, and I was right. I'm working on a few posts, but I'm not going to promise any of them will get finished before I jet off to Phoenix via Denver, where I'll probably be trapped by the coming snowstorm. This could end up being the one time that O'Hare would have been a better bet... Instead of interesting content, and in tribute to our missing hero, Ambrose Fulton... here's a cat picture:

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Last year's New Year's Wishes

In true Bill Wundram style, I'm reprinting a post from last year around this time.

I hope that in 2006 Davenport can:

5. Reduce crime. Somehow, some way, make Davenport safer. Enough said.

4. Help prairie Heights succeed. I'm a big fan of new urbanism, mostly because it reminds me of the way I grew up. I spent my childhood in a neighborhood where I could walk to the park for baseball, stop in at a corner store and buy some Laffy Taffy or baseball cards, and where the front of our house was dominated by a door for people, not cars. We can create new neighborhoods like this.

3.Continue the downtown "momentum." As much as people would like to pretend that all the downtown progress isn't working, it really is. The Crescent Loft district is sprouting new downtown living, new businesses are moving downtown, and PEOPLE can actually be seen walking around on downtown streets. Continuing this will help keep the 20-somethings (my generation) from going elsewhere.

2. Redevelop the former Showcase Cinema and Ramada/Wickliffe Inn on North Brady. These 2 parcels add up to over 25 acres, and don't provide the best welcome to Davenport to visitors coming off of I-80. Surely something could be done with the property.

1. That all of us could honor and respect Fly's Rule #3, and honor and respect each other, no matter what their personal politics or views are. No one deserves personal attacks just because they are passionate about their views, whichever side they're on. We're all doing what we think is best for Davenport.
So... I guess I could change the "2006" to "2007" and pretty much use the same list again this year, but we have at least made a little progress with the downtown. I didn't have "bring more development on Elmore" on the list, but we sure seem to be doing that. Prairie Heights is moving forward, but it is yet to be seen how well it works. Through cracking down and good police work (and probably lots of overtime), the DPD did make Davenport safer during the weeks after Vincelina Howard was killed. I wonder if they're still using the same strategy, or if they've gone back to their old rules on pursuits and such.

Instead of being lazy and using the same list, I plan to come up with a new list by the end of the week. What do you folks think should be on it?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas from QuadCityImages

I would just like to wish all of you out there a merry and peaceful Christmas.
The Genesis Remembrance Tree at 2nd and Iowa.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Almost Christmas Open Thread

I don't have much to write about this morning.

I unfortunately will be making a trek out into shopping madness today for a last few gifts. I don't see how the traffic on Elmore could get much worse than yesterday, but I'm sure there's a way. Seems like Best Buy and Target should be billed for the cost of the cop directing traffic at the Best Buy driveway as punishment for not connecting their lots. This would allow BB folks to use the stoplight at the Target driveway. That would be too logical I guess. At least the west side of Elmore is laid out in a somewhat logical fashion. You can drive from store to store without having to venture back out onto Elmore.

As usual I'll be taking a flight to Phoenix on the 31st, so I'll be out of the loop (more than usual) for a week or so. My hotel has wireless internet, so I'll still be able to toss up a post once in a while. I've seen most of the touristy stuff down there at this point; any suggestions for Phoenix area attractions to check out? I'll also be in Vegas for a couple days, but I'm sure I won't be bored there.

Also, thanks to Alderman Meyer for the Christmas garbage amnesty. Wrapping paper is technically recyclable, but plenty of gift packaging isn't. Having to buy a $4 sticker or being forced to use one of your 2 emergency free stickers isn't a great holiday gift. Lets hope the workers wear the back braces and don't use this as an opportunity to all file for workers comp.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Freight House solution

Well, Snarky beat me to it again.

Capitalism prevails, and the owner of Penguins over in Bettendorf is hoping to take over the Freight House for his comedy club, a restaurant, and martini bar. The best part is he also will give the city back some of the space to use for the new scaled down Farmer's Market plans.

The only downside is that he wants to pay less, considering he won't be using the whole space. I guess the City Council must decide if having an active use for the Freight House plus control over the west end of the building is worth $30,000 a year in lost lease payments. I would say yes, but I'm sure many people will say no. Hopefully a compromise can be worked out.

Here's the QCTimes article about the Freight House project. I'm sure the comments will be plenty rowdy by this afternoon.

Does anyone know what the plans are for the Builders Sand and Gravel building across the street from the Freight House and JOD? It has been sold, so I suspect we may be seeing some redevelopment there in the future too.

This has been a good week for Davenport. Since last Friday:
Several proposals were submitted for the Blackhawk Hotel.
We learned we're getting 500 new jobs.
The Freight House problem may be solved with minimal taxpayer expense.

Now if we can just get the damn casino to stay downtown.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Davenport gets an early Christmas Present:
500 jobs

Snarky has already covered this, and so as the Colonel, but Davenport is getting a $19.3 million Cingular customer service center.

Here's the QCTimes story.
Here's Snarky's thread.
Here's the Colonels usual inside info.

Unfortunately, judging by the Colonel's info it doesn't sound like it will be downtown. This could have been that 2nd new big office building that downtown really needs, but I'm not going to complain (not much at least) about 500 new jobs. As someone on the QCTimes.comments said, if you do the math, dividing their proposed $11,000,000 annual payroll by the 500 jobs, you get $22,000 a year average pay. So this is no Purina, but its no APAC either.

If they're going to go sprawl-style, I hope they at least build an attractive building.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Whhere in the QC is this? #12

I know I've been accused of only showing the shabbier parts of town in this feature, but today isn't going to be the day I break that habit. Part of the reason is that most new construction is uninteresting, but I'll try and do better next time.

Where's this gate located?

Clue #1: This location is within 50 feet or less of 2 One Way streets.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Overtime Open Thread

I'm off to work, so this is the first of what I suspect will be a number of holiday-time Open Threads.

Also, why doesn't anyone comment on positive stories?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

2 stories to make you feel good

First, I just have to say something about Michelle Wie's recent gift to the Travis Hearn fund.

Here's the QCTimes article and the QCOnline article. Oh, and here's one from the Honolulu Star Bulletin.

Its amazing to me that she would do this for someone she's never met, and not just giving him money, but taking time to talk to Travis on the phone. According to one of the articles, Michelle even said he could call her back anytime he needed to talk.

I also just love the stuff that both Michelle and her father are saying about the QC and the midwest in general. From the QCOnline article:
"The people (in the Quad-Cities) are like people in Hawaii," B.J. Wie, Michelle's father, told Honolulu Star-Bulletin sports writer Dave Reardon. "I don't know what they call it in the Midwest, but it is just like the Aloha spirit."
It really makes you remember that no matter the problems we're going through here, the Midwest has some world-class folks.

My second feel-good story is not QC-related. A few years back, the 2 founders of Penny Arcade, which is a website and online comic about video games, decided that they needed to do something to show people that video gamers aren't all trench coat-wearing, basement-dwelling weirdos. They started the Child's Play Charity. Here's a quote from an LATimes story about it:
Founded in 2003, Child's Play's goal is to ease the strain of long-term hospitalization on children and their families by providing videogames, crafts, and other toys. By leveraging's three million person reader-base, last year's event was an overwhelming success, collecting nearly $250,000 in toys and cash. And because all involvement in the event is volunteer-based, 100% of the donations were presented to the Children's Hospital of Seattle.
That article is from 2004, and in the following years the total amount raised passed a million dollars, and they've expanded to dozens of children's hospitals. In 2006 alone they're approaching half a million bucks. People can either donate money, or go to a special site where you can pick things that hospitals need off of Amazon, and them have them shipped directly to the hospital of your choice.

The Child's Play website can be found here

So next time you hear about the evils of computer and video games, keep in mind that gamers do good works too.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

PEDCOR Strikes again

Here's the QCOnline Story about it
(Available for a limited time only)

Instead of sprawling to the West, they hope to sprawl out on Elmore with everyone else. I guess we'll see if 6th ward folks are more accepting of the project. I've said it before and I'll say it again, low income housing isn't bad if its done correctly and managed well. It would also bring a different income level to that area of the city. We'll see what happens.

If the project works fine and there's no trouble out there, and they get spin-off development, I suspect the 2nd ward will be kicking themselves.


For some reason, the link to the story about a possible sewer rate hike has been removed from the QCTimes' links to other stories within each article. It was there this morning, and now its missing. It can still be found if you do some looking though.

Pretty strange. Any comment on this Tory B?

Edit: Ah... I probably overreacted on this one. It may have just gotten bumped off the bottom of the list by new articles. I've seen the Times do some weird stuff with online articles before though, so I was quick to think that. Maybe I'm being infected by all the conspiracy talk around here.

Davenport Library Stuff

One of the many email lists I'm on is the Davenport library's newsletter. Here are a few of the more interesting things.

-The Davenport Public Library is on MySpace! A 100+ year old library is trendier than me now I suppose. At least somebody down there is "with it" as far as how to advertise in the internet age.

-Quoted straight from the newsletter:
The PR Department of the Library, in cooperation with the City of Davenport Public Information Officer, has created a brand new television show to help keep you updated on the latest Library happenings! The Library Connection is a show all about the Library – including special guest appearances from Library guests and staff. Our first show was taped last week, and is already airing on Channels 9 and 18. This information is so new that we don’t have a list of air-times yet, so stayed tuned to eConnections for more info. If you like the show, or want to see something specific, send your comments to the PR Department’s email at:"

- Someone has written an excellent entry for the DPL on Wikipedia, which can be found here. It talks about the history and buildings the library has had over the years, including mentioning how the Main Library was designed by Edward Durrell Stone. Stone also designed the Kennedy Center in D.C. and the Aon Center building in Chicago, which is one of my all-time favorite buildings. Again, good use of free internet advertising.

-And of course there's the library's new hours, which will be starting in January

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Open Thread

Somebody's not shoveling the whole width of the stairs at the Figge. This picture was taken this past Saturday, over a week after the snowstorm. Not a big deal, I suppose... I'm sure of the Negative Neds around here will jump all over it though.

I was pretty disappointed with the sidewalk shoveling job all around downtown. Walking down to Front Street the day after the storm, there were still many sidewalks that hadn't been touched. A vibrant, walkable downtown will require someone, either the businesses themselves or D1's Gator, to get the sidewalks cleared faster. Just my bit of Tuesday complaining.

Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to make it to Alderman Frink's meeting tonight, but everyone who can should attend. He certainly got some positive press from the QCTimes about it today.

I also noticed the windows are going into the Mississippi Hotel, so we can all look forward to that bringing even more downtown residents.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday morning assortment

-Today we've got another day of QCTimes articles about Quad City development-related topics. This article is a strange mixture of saying we need to attract new jobs and saying we need to attract new workers to fill old jobs that will soon be available as baby boomers retire.

-Yesterday, buried in an article about Deere getting a new military contract, we have this quote:
Olson said the contract does not translate into additional jobs at Davenport Works, which has already added about 700 employees in the past several years due to record high production levels and the introduction of several new products.
I recently talked to a Deere employee that was telling me about this. We both wondered where the news releases and media coverage have been? If a new company came in and hired 700 people, that would practically be the QC Development story of the decade. For some reason though, we've heard very little about Deere's recent successes. Its one thing not to pat yourself on the back, but when all we're hearing is doom and gloom, it would be good for the QC to hear about some success.

-That brings me to my next point, which could probably be an entire post in itself. Davenport and the Quad Cities as a whole do not sell themselves well. Over on AbsoluteDSM, when I mentioned that we had the first 3D IMAX in the state, many of the people from Des Moines said they didn't even know we had a science museum. Does the CVB bother advertising outside the area? Many people didn't know about the festivities that took place this weekend downtown and in the East Village. We should be showing off the Figge, the downtown housing options in Davenport and Rock Island, the skatepark, and all the other things we're doing. Getting people looking at Davenport is the first step in getting people looking at moving here.

-And finally, a link to a crime article from Time magazine. The article is about the crime wave sweeping Milwaukee over the last few years. Its not very reassuring, but at least it tells us we're not the only city dealing with large increases in crime. Here's a quote from the article:
If police are struggling to answer 911 calls, they have even less time to patrol neighborhoods, so they can't build the trust essential to preventing crime. Tensions between the city's African-American community and police are particularly high--40% of the population is black and 47% is white, but there are three times as many white cops on the force. As Alderman Ashanti Hamilton explains, "If the only time people in black neighborhoods see a police officer there it is to arrest somebody, then, of course, they're going to be nervous." Chief Hegerty says repairing this relationship is critical. "We have to count on law-abiding residents to tell us what's going on in their neighborhoods," she says.
Here's the link to the article. Its definitely worth reading.

-Ah, one more thing. Ian Frink is having an All-wards meeting Tuesday at 6 in St. Ambrose's Rogalski Center. Read about that here. I wonder why only Frink and Hamerlinck have blogs and regularly hold ward meetings.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christkindlmarkt Images

From Wikipedia:
In many towns in Germany and in Austria, Advent is usually ushered in with the opening of the town's Christmas market or Weihnachtsmarkt, in the southern parts of Germany and in Austria often also called Christkindlmarkt or Christkindelsmarkt (Ger. literally, Christ child market). Generally held in the town square and pedestrian zones, the market combines food and drink in the open air, shopping and pageantry as well as tradition.
So now everyone knows what that is, if you didn't already. Here are the images.

There were groups selling gifts from at least a dozen different countries.

I was there towards the end, but it was still pretty crowded.
How many Christkindlmarkts have a view like this?

Lights of the Season - Downtown Davenport

I don't watch a lot of TV, but I hadn't heard much at all about this until I read it in the D1 E-newsletter. It should have been more publicized, because it sounds like a great event. I wish I could have posted this earlier than the day of the event.

Here's the site about this event

Date & Time
Saturday, December 9
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

All over Downtown Davenport!


Click Here to Print the QC-Times Ad!
(Lists individual business specials)

Event Highlights
Check out the downtown business below and the special single-day events!

Many more downtown businesses will be open late and offering discounts and other specials. Look for the full-page Ad in the Thursday, Dec. 7 QC-Times!

Visit the RME courtyard to a chance to win free downtown parking smart-cards! On your way, stop by each participating business to check out their own specials, give-aways, and events!

A few things on the schedule:

Santa at the Library

Main and 4 th Streets
10 am – 12 pm & 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm

3rd Annual Christkindlmarkt
Davenport Skybridge
10 am – 6 pm
Do your shopping with gifts from around the world!

Ornament Workshop
Figge Art Museum
Noon – 3:00 pm
Free for kids with paid adult admission

Cookies and Cider will be provided

Bucktown's Art Bazaar,
Give Art..It's Original

Bucktown Center for the Arts
225 E. 2nd St .
10 am - 6 pm
Origami Ornaments by Undiscovered Art.
Great Make & Take for all ages! Suite 103 (first floor)

FREE Family Fun at the River Music Experience (R.M.E.)
11 am
"A Christmas Story” Shown on the big screen in the Redstone Room
Kids Band in Mojos Local kids come together to rock in the holidays!
3 pm
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” Shown on the big screen in the Redstone Room

And there's more, but check out the website yourself.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Where SHOULD the casino go?
& Open Thread

I know I shouldn't do another post about Rhythm City, but the QCTimes had another article about it, so what the heck.

This time my question is where do you folks think it should go?

These suggestions don't need to be realistic, cost effective, etc, but they should involve Davenport, as that's where the gambling license "lives."

Other than that, I heard there was a big accident this morning on Locust, and what else is happening around town?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

12/6/06 Council Meeting

So I attended tonight's "Special City Council Meeting" and stuck around for the regular city council meeting scheduled immediately after.

First of all, while the special meeting was indeed related to the potential Rhythm City Casino relocation, it wasn't a meeting to vote to allow them to move. The actual vote was simply to direct staff to study the areas that should be zoned for casinos. The way it is explained now, there is currently no special zoning required for casinos, so IOC can basically locate a new casino/hotel complex wherever they wish. What the action taken by the council tonight does, is start the process for creating a special zoning type for casinos. This would allow the city to have a lot more leverage in choosing where IOC could build. Alderman Meyer questioned the entire process, why it was being done, whether the city administration is trying to force IOC to stay downtown, why a "special meeting" was needed, etc. Staff attempted to assure him that they would study all options, and not just downtown, but he added an amendment which would insist that they not rule out sites outside of downtown. This was passed by the council, I believe unanimously. Then the council passed the motion.

Here is the official text from the agenda of the pre-amendment motion:
"Motion directing staff to review the zoning ordinances so that the placement of casinos or gaming operations is addressed in specific zoning district(s)."

I am unsure, but it seemed like Alderman Meyer hopes the casino does leave downtown. As a third ward resident, I disagree with this, and any efforts to move (relatively) upstanding businesses out of my ward. Alderman Ambrose was clearly supportive of the casino moving out by the interstate. Both Alderman Brooke and Howard seemed to at least "hope" that the casino would be able to stay downtown. Alderman Hamerlinck and Lynn pointed out that any new agreement with the Isle will need to honor their existing responsibilities to the parking garage, skybridge, and Blackhawk Hotel. Alderman Dumas, as usual, said nothing.

All of the Council seemed to feel that the Isle is keeping them out of the process, and I spoke to "Tory B" of the QCTimes who also felt like they were being very closemouthed about their intentions.

The rest of the meeting mainly involved a 40+ minute discussion of Fejervary Zoo, and the council logically voting to refinance some bonds at a cheaper rate. The rezoning of the Mound/Locust apartment project that I've heard very little about was deleted from the agenda. Also, the guys were back with their request for a memorial in Lindsay Park to the Dakota tribe human remains that are, according to them, scattered around the McClellan and Lindsay Park area. There's always something to see at a Davenport City Council meeting.

Where oh where might the casino go?

According to Cruiser, according to a trusted source of his, tonight's special council meeting will have something to do with Isle of Capri's plans for the Rhythm City Casino. (and Hotel?) I'm going to try and make it to the meeting, so we'll see what goes on tonight.In the mean time, get your guessing caps on, because we're playing a little game called "Where will IOC want to move to now?" I've created 6 choices, as follows:
A. The area between Gaines and Marquette, and River and 5th. Lots of cheap/crappy property in this area.
B. The downtown core. Not much room for a casino complex, except maybe near the Blackhawk.
C. The Crescent Warehouse District and "Crossings" area along 4th and River. The large industrial site of the cement works north of 4th would be a sizable enough area of land for a large casino complex.
D. Somewhere south of River Drive and west of the Centennial, but still near downtown. Unlikely unless we totally scrap the RiverVision plan
E. Somewhere near the existing location south of River Drive near the downtown core
F. Somewhere outside of downtown, such as near I-280. In this case F can stand for "F'in terrible idea."

So, all the anonymice (yes, I made that word up) out there might want to pick a name so they can brag later about choosing the right location.

Personally my bet is for C or F, but as I stated before, the city council should take a dim view of the casino abandoning the downtown.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Are we doing more damage than good?

Or, should we be taking the Bush Administration attitude that saying things aren't ok is what makes them not ok?

This blog can be found the following ways:
#6 on a Yahoo Search for city images
#5 on Google for downtown davenport images
#12 on for davenport lofts
#1 on Google for davenport skatepark
#15 on for quad city blog
#1 on Yahoo for quad city images
#2 on Google for new urbanism davenport iowa
#15 on AltaVista for davenport images
#1 on Google for Apartments in the quad cities that u dont have to be 18 to rent (Yes, someone really found us that way)

There are a million more specific search engine results that people find this blog through, but my point is that for a decent number of people, this may be their first introduction to the Quad Cities or Davenport. What do they find when they get here? A mixture of good things, like images that show us being more than corn, and bad things, like people saying they're moving away because of speed cameras. Rampant discussion of our crime problem on all the local blogs is another thing that probably isn't so good for out of town google searchers to find. I've been aware of this worry ever since I started the blog and started getting listed on search engines.

My question is, are we actually hurting Davenport through talking about it? That is horrifying to me, because I will never never advocate sitting around saying everything is fine when it isn't. Its almost like I wish I could have out of town folks be sent to a separate blog, and us current residents will have our own area to discuss the real nitty gritty of QC life. A visitor reading Cruiser's blog, for example, would assume that we have shootings on every corner once an hour based on how much the crime problem is being discussed. We all know that things aren't that bad here, but they're not as good as we want them to be.

Debate is a good thing. Good things have come out of discussions on the blogs. I just really hope that no potential businesses have read some comments on QCTimes.comments or on the real blogs and decided that the Quad Cities are entirely populated by negative folks. I don't see a solution for this issue, because limiting free speech is 100% the opposite of what I'll ever do as a blogger. I could get myself de-listed from search engines, but I like the fact that people searching for random things can stumble across pictures of our beautiful riverfront and be like "wow, where is this?" There would be nothing interesting about a Pollyanna blog about how great everything is, but maybe I wish we had a couple positive comments once a month or so.
What do you folks think?

6 degrees and its barely December

I'll just call this another Open Thread

One downside of working 3rd shift: Its really freaking cold.

I don't think I'll be sitting outside at Bent River tonight.

Look for a real post later today.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Times is back at it again

QCTimes Editorial: Will River Gulf's lease ever expire?

They're back demanding that one industry (grain transfer) be kicked out of the neighborhood because another industry (newspaper printing) wants a pretty front yard and no dust on their cars.

I hope that the Crescent Warehouse District and the possible "Crossings" project really take off, so 10 years down the road we're demanding that ugly QCTimes building and its trucks full of newsprint be kicked out of our neighborhood.

Friday, December 01, 2006

CNN Likes New Urbanism: Part 2

A few months ago I posted a link to a CNN article about some new urbanism-based communities.

Today they've got a video online, for those of you with broadband, about how new urbanism can create healthier neighborhoods.

Check it out here

Snow Day Open Thread

Makes me wish I was still waiting to see "Davenport Community School District - Canceled" scroll across the bottom of KWQC. I actually did watch to see that it was this morning, even though it doesn't affect me any more.

What's a good topic for our usual educated discourse around here today?