Saturday, July 14, 2007

12 Headlines that would be good for Davenport

Every morning I when I start reading the paper, I hope for some positive news for Davenport instead of the usual circus and controversy. Here are a dozen of the kind of headlines I'm waiting to see. I don't feel that any of these are impossible, and some are downright probable. Some of these are good only for Davenport, such as #2 and #8, and some are good for the whole Quad Cities. In keeping with my belief that downtown is the heart of Davenport, about half of these are downtown-oriented.

Please add your suggestions for the list in the comments.

1. "X Company" to build 20 story corporate headquarters in downtown Davenport
Something like this would be the last piece to tip the scales for downtown success.

2. Alderman Van Fossen resigns his position on city council
No need to explain this one.

3. 20 story condo tower to be built in downtown Davenport
Similar to #1. If Moline can have one, why not us? Or even a mixture of #1 and #3.

4. (Dave & Busters, InPlay, GameWorks, pick one) to open downtown Davenport entertainment venue
See this blog post.

5. Brady Street Cinema and former hotel site to be redeveloped
Its a huge site, and currently providing a terrible first impression of Davenport

6. Toyota to build 2000-employee manufacturing plant in Davenport industrial park
Sure, we shouldn't pin all our hopes on heavy industry, but we shouldn't ignore it either.

7. 46th Street bridge to be built between Brady and Eastern, connecting the last piece between Harrison and Elmore.
I haven't even heard about this lately, so I'm guessing its years away. It would certainly help out 53rd and Kimberly, although at the expense of people who live on 46th.

8. New operator for Davenport casino license to build state-of-the-art casino hotel downtown
I'd settle for the same headline with "IOC" replacing new operator, but I don't see that happening.

9. Event similar to X-Games to be held at Davenport skatepark
We've got a world-class skatepark now, so why not add an event the size of Sturgis on the River to take advantage of it?

10. Amtrak returns passenger rail to the QC area
Say goodbye to I-88 tolls anyone?

11. Quad City International lands direct service to Phoenix
Ok, this one's slightly selfish, but I'm pretty sure I've read that Phoenix is the biggest final destination for QCIA travelers.

12. BRAC reverse decision, TACOM to stay at Arsenal
At this point the move to Michigan isn't going to save any money until 2030 anyway, and who knows what will be happening by then. Might as well leave them here.


Kyle said...

Interesting ideas, I know youre as passionate and anxious as I am to see this area begin to accomplish investments that are long term and beneficial for the community. I think when it comes to your most audacious quests, the high rise condo and office buildings are clearly the ones that would be the most difficult to actually do. The question is what can Davenport and the QC do to make it happen? I believe there will be many baby boomer retirees in this area that will begin to see theyd rather live in a condo than a house or retirement home. I just think thats the trend not only because its new, but because thats how people want to enjoy their retirement, near the river principally, but also near the lakes, ponds, creeks of the area. Also, when former Quad Citians return from the west coast and elsewhere I believe theyll move there. However, why would a business locate its business headquarters here? Think about it-if the VP of say TYCO, a large pharmacueticual company looked at us because of our extensive background in medicinal services here's how the meeting between him/her and the economic director, city council, and public would go.... VP: Davenports downtown is crummy west of harrison and especially west of gaines so...why should I invest my hundreds of millions in your city? Your roads are archaic and difficult to travel on because theres no real thruway to and from downtown and your main artery roads downtown are poorly taken care of; with cracks, potholes, and dented and sunken sections all over. You have a casino blocking the view of the river to help create a good atmosphere when we smooshe clients at conventions and meetings. You have no real vision for how downtown should look. Wheres the business district? Wheres the majority of the parking going to be to handle the numbers of cars? You have no real character that exemplfies what your cities about-where are the monuments? Where are the parks downtown that allow for relaxing times where maybe we want to have lunch outside in the warmer months? If my corporation were to locate its offices there, I want to rent a number of floors to the building, how can I get the best bang for my buck with the public thinking everything is their business and the city council and various bulding and economic commissions impeding my ability to grow and flourish in your city? You have no public univerisities so when I need people to hire people, Im forced to ask Midwesterns to move (no easy task) from their homes to a new city. You only have three restaurants downtown that are fine dining and they struggle to stay open. You have tattered and half knocked down 100 year old buildings downtown, am I expected to put my 70 million skyscraper across from a liquor store and sleazy bar? I don't understand, Im suppose to locate where you tell me to downtown? Im suppose to help pay for road improvements and other aestetics instead of the municipality? Thats not my duty, thanks but no thanks. How am I suppose to believe Davenport is serious about investing in its future and being a landmark city in the Midwest if it can't take care of its roads and allows run down buildings to be leased by crack dealers and prostitution rings the police ignore? Sorry, Ill look elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

There cannot be any structure in down town Davenport that is taller than the Davenport Bank building. (Wells Fargo) Mid American Energy was supposed to be taller, but due to a clause that V. O. Figge (I think) put forward while building the Davenport Bank building, no building can ever be taller than his.

Anonymous said...

The 46th street bridge will be nice when built, but who wants to drive from Eastern to Elmore and only go 25mph. In comparison my residential street should have a 15mph limit. What were Alderman Brook and the city thinking when they set that speed limit on 46th street? People live on Eastern South of Kimberly and the speed limit there is 35mph.

Anonymous said...

8:05 - you are pretty correct. The solutions are to do like a hierachy of needs for the city. If we have crime and prositutes, then we will not have growth and development in that area. What attracts these criminals here is what needs to be addressed. Public safety.

We allow for crack houses to operate all over the city, not just the central city. Not only are the thugs making a buckm but so are the landlords who turn a blind eye or know about the activity. Then the surrounding homeowners suffer greatly and the areas go to hell.

Snarky Chick said...

Kyle, I agree with you to a point. We do have to pay attention to infrastructure and crime, but it seems its always a balancing effect between the two and we can never keep up with either. We need to come up with some innovative ways to get things done without overtaxing.

QCI - I have also heard there is a limitation on building height downtown but never looked into it. Incidentally, I was at one time told the Radisson wanted to build a much taller building with their own convention space but were not able to and had to settle for what they have. They've done a great job with the space they could use though. The interior is gorgeous!

And I was never as impressed with Dave & Busters as you seem to be, but it would be a perfect fit for downtown. I just wouldn't frequent the place :)

The city should provide some good incentives for the Brady Street cinema to be developed. It really is sad to see that area so abandoned and you are right that its a horrible first impression. Maybe we could convince a certain casino to relocate there??

Commuter rail to Chicago would do more for this area than anything else I can think of. We are already close to being commuting distance to Chicago by today's standards, commuter rail would allow us some great opportunities.

hoganj300 said...

How about these headlines: WIU-QC gets $72 million to complete campus, Local mass transit providers in talks for possible merger and my favorite one, Local business giants threaten support for chamber of commerces for lack of collaberation. I really believe we should have one mass transit provider in the area because by being bigger they have more opportunities to recieve state and federal funding for an number of projects.

Anonymous said...

PHX is indeed one of the biggest destinations from MLI, but I think MCO (Orlando) is bigger.

And you don't want "direct" service. You want "nonstop" service. "Direct" in airline lingo just means it's the same flight number all the way--not necessarily the same plane. For example, Northwest's schedule shows "direct" flights today from Moline to Casper, Wyoming, Raleigh and Ashville, NC, Roanoke, VA and Columbia, SC. But all those flights stopped somewhere else first, and many of them changed planes, too.

Anonymous said...

New Houses In Historic District Blend With Older structures

The headline is a real headline in today’s Quad Cities Times supplement Rock Island News. See

Private developer buys two lots from city for one dollar and works with the city council and neighbors to design the house to fit the historic homes in the Broadway Historic District. The first house was pre-sold

Could something like this happen in Davenport? There are council members who would be likely to support the concept, however, there are others who find it difficult to support most initiatives in the neighborhoods.

Even with a cooperative council there needs to be a developer.

pioneer98 said...

I'm generally in the camp to keep the casino downtown, but I could be teetered the other way. It did occur to me that the hotel/cinema site on Brady might not be a bad place for the new casino.
A) It's near the interstate
B) There are already a cluster of hotels nearby
C) There are still some restaurants in that stretch, and more would probably pop up with the increased traffic
D) It's not in the flood plain!
E) That area could use the help

Of course, I doubt if either of the structures would be re-usuable, but I'd think at least part of the movie theater could become part of a new casino.

Anonymous said...

The problem with putting a casino up on Brady is that there would be no foot traffic. There may be restaurants in the area, but you'd almost certainly have to drive to get from the casino to the restaurant, and that's not acceptable.

The whole point of putting things downtown is supposed to be to allow people to drive down there, park, and have a night on the town involving multiple businesses (restaurants, bars, clubs, casinos, etc.). If you put the casino up on Brady, you may as well stick it in a cornfield like Wacky Waters.

Anonymous said...

I have but one headline...


Some sub-titles:
1)Brooks Crooks Robbed of Election.
2)Lynn's Lynched
3)Hammer's Hammered and so is Van Fossen (again)
4)Ambrose Gets "No" Vote, Falls in Love with Dee and becomes Mrs. Bremmer (sorry, a little deranged)

pioneer98 said...

It's not like the casino creates much foot traffic right now.

Also, I remember hearing about the limitation on the building height in downtown Davenport, but I don't know if its still in effect. No one's ever been able to tell me for sure if its still an issue.

QuadCityImages said...

I think that's a myth at this point, but I'll find out.

Anonymous said...

Well said kyle. QCI I like your dreams. I might add that I would like to combine your downtown development dreams into a ped mall/courtyard type devolpment. 2-3 blocks including removal of the north south streets could be cleaned up, redevoloped and made into a "hip" and very livable oasis.

Because, so much needs work. It would be easier to tackle these issues by focusing on 1-2 full blocks at a time. A vision NEEDS to be made.

I too have heard of the height limit in downtown. I would think that because wells fargo owns the building now. Any "secret" agreement made in the 30's is no longer in effect.

QuadCityImages said...

I've now confirmed that there is no downtown building height restriction. Whether this was ever an actual rule, I don't know. However, at the height of V.O. Figge's power in Davenport, would you, as a builder, have wanted to be the one to exceed his iconic bank building? It may have been more of an understanding or gentleman's agreement.

I had heard this myth for years as well though, and I believe its pretty widely held by Davenporters. However, I'll say myth busted.

Anonymous said...

I also think it appears to be a myth, as the City Code says there are no height restrictions in the central business district:

Anonymous said...

Hmm... Link didn't work.

Try this:

Anonymous said...

That myth was even more reenforced by the 20+ tower proposed in the early 80's (I think it was MelFoster that wanted to build it) And then another large tower was in the works by some finantial company in either the late 80's or early 90's. But, that deal also fell apart. Both I believe were lost due to lack of parking.

pioneer98 said...

Landing a corporate headquarters downtown would be great, but I don't think it is the one thing that will create a tipping point or anything. I think, for now at least, they need to continue attracting more residents down there, and more good things will continue to evolve.

QuadCityImages said...

I don't know that its an actual tipping point in activity, but it would be a tipping point in perception. Lee moving from one part of downtown to another isn't the same as a company coming in and saying that is where they want to locate.

I'd like to see QCR Holdings (Quad City Bank & Trust), Von Maur, or one of the other medium-sized local companies build a headquarters down there. It seems like there would probably be some added satisfaction for many of the QC Bank and Trust folks to surpass Davenport Bank/Norwest/Wells Fargo, which many of them left to form QCBT.