Thursday, May 31, 2007

LeClaire Park Expansion

This is the newly revised programmatic sketch that was presented to the council at the work session today.There aren't a whole lot of changes, just a few things that were either fixed or made a little more detailed. Also, the pier location is being left open to either align with Main Street or be aligned with the Skybridge. Approval of this has been put on the agenda for the next finance committee meeting, in order to allow the city to present this plan at the June 13th Vision Iowa board meeting.

Along with this came some preliminary cost estimates to present to the Vision Iowa folks, which can seen below. The costs were estimated using similar projects that have been completed recently, with adjustment for inflation, etc. Staff emphasized that this is simply a total dollar amount, and will involve many funding sources, including the Isle of Capri, hopefully state grants, and possibly some hotel/motel tax or other city funding sources. This info was scanned from the handout from today's work session.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wait for it... wait for it.... Go Go Go!

Now that the casino is ready to actually talk... tomorrow (TODAY now) there is a council worksession regarding the LeClaire Park expansion. I'm pretty curious if the casino's deal is going to be decided in the next couple weeks as well. You know, since the best way to get a good deal is to decide everything in 2 weeks or less... as we've seen in the past.

Oh well. At least the LeClaire Park expansion part of it won't be all screwed up. They're basically using the preliminary sketch that most people supported when it was displayed at the last two public meetings. It leaves things vague enough to be hammered out over the longer term while Rhythm City builds its new location.

Email sent to people who went to the meetings:
Dear LeClaire Park expansion process participant:

As you may know, the City has been discussing with the Isle of Capri its preliminary plans to relocate off the Riverfront. Very recently, it has been revealed that the Isle of Capri is looking closely at establishing a gaming operation in portions of the River Center.

Given this information, it has been determined that making a presentation to the Vision Iowa Board on June 13th is feasible. In order to meet that deadline, the City Council has, on short notice, scheduled a work session to review the Programmatic Sketch presented at a series of public meetings held in late April. This work session has been scheduled for Noon tomorrow (TODAY), May 31, 2007, in the Council Chambers of City Hall, 226 W. Fourth Street. The public is invited to attend the meeting.

The Programmatic Sketch was well received and only minor revisions have been made. An estimated project budget has also been prepared as well. As the planning process continues and more design details developed, your input will be sought.

Thank you once again for your interest in this project!

RiverCenter Casino a step closer?

Isle to lease part of the RiverCenter? -QTimes

The Times has definitely gotten a lot of column inches out of writing articles about the Isle not knowing what its going to do. Hopefully they (IOC) figure it out soon, so Davenport can stop being held hostage by their indecision and start moving forward on the riverfront, the Blackhawk, and the RiverCenter.

I do think that its better for Rhythm City to build a new hotel than try and make the Blackhawk work for them. They've shown over the last decade how capable they are of operating a historic building like that. Also, I find it interesting the people from Ad Group either a. Don't know what's happening, or b. Are better at keeping secrets than Aldermen Meyer and Hamerlinck. I could definitely see their building being eyed by IOC, because the green space across from Majors doesn't seem big enough for both a hotel and parking garage.

Now we just have to make sure that our new hotel tower doesn't look anything like the hotel towers in Bettendorf.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Last night's Swing game

What a beautiful day yesterday was for a baseball game. It was a beautiful game as well. Beloit was dominating to the point of having a perfect game through several innings, but the Swing came back late, and won in the bottom of the 9th with a walkoff outfield hit with the bases loaded. Unfortunately because of the early lack of Swing offense, the game was over so early that it was barely dark enough for the fireworks.

Here's a video I took of the Swing lining into a double play.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Freight House update

It seems that in addition to missing a few things on the Boozies alley fight (see Cruiser's post), Barb Ickes also forgot to check out a few things in her Freight House column.

Here's a little piece that will probably be making its appearance in the next Council Update, with thanks to my source. I believe this was emailed to Keith as well, but I guess he only posts bad news.

Freight House Progress -- Contrary to what you may have recently read, the Freight House redevelopment project is proceeding, although the original schedule has been adjusted as the details of financing have been worked through. Developers Jeff Johnson and Bob Echols are moving full steam ahead with plans to invest in Davenport by opening Penguin's Comedy Club, a mid-priced independent restaurant (with a local flavor), and a piano bar. They have been working with their team of local designers and plan to open Penguin's in October, with the remaining development to follow by year's end. At the Levee Improvement Commission's May 9 meeting, an addendum to the lease was approved allowing three additional months to the original target open date of August 1. The reason for this extension relates to the developer's decision to seek SBA financing, and the process taking longer than originally contemplated. Another part of the financing is expected to be a City loan through the CDBG-funded CIRCL program. The use of the federal funds required there to be an environmental assessment, which recently was completed. To sum up, you will soon be able to grab a bite and laugh yourself silly at the Freight House.

In related news, the newspaper was accurate in its coverage of the lead gift of $35,000 by the Davenport Jaycees for a children's play area is planned to be constructed in late June. The Levee Improvement Commission approved a $5,000 contribution at its meeting on May 23. Jaycees volunteers will spend the last weekend in June preparing the site and setting the play structure, with oversight by the Parks and Recreation staff, as a gift to our community.

In other riverfront news, tonight' 6:00PM Swing game should include fireworks, and the forecast for game time is 75 and sunny.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Listen to Canadians talk about the QC Flames

Check out, Calgary's sports radio.
At the top, click on Listen Live to stream the audio online.

Right now (6:30PM) Mallards/Flames President Tim Taylor is being interviewed, and there's a lot of talk about the Calgary Flames' farm team.

Update: It was pretty interesting to hear questions and discussion about the Quad Cities, the Mallards, and the Mark from another country, sort of. They talked about Mallards fans, the $600,000 project to expand the skating surface, the name change, and the excitement of the fans, including the presence of a lot of fans at the press conference.

Here's a thread on a Calgary hockey forum with a lot of folks talking about us as well, and they seem impressed with the Mark.

Also, here's a post by Pioneer98 (bigger hockey fan than I) wondering if this means the end of the UHL on Information Swimming.

Open Thread

Lately open threads have been failing miserably around here, but here's one at least until later today.

I'm sure there will be a lot of big news coming out of the Mallards' press conference at 10:30 this morning. If I wasn't so tired I'd consider heading over to the Mark to witness the AHL announcement myself.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Swedish Olive Block

When I took this picture my intent was to use it for a "Where in the QC is this?" I even edited out the address. Then I discovered that simply Google-searching for the phrase reveals its location, so that's a bit too easy. Here's the image anyway, and the info that Google found.

Here's what Moline's downtown brochure says about it (PDF here)
This three-story Prairie School style building, designed by Moline Architect H.W. Whitsitt, was built in 1909 for the Swedish Olive Lodge Illinois Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.). Note the building’s numerous columns in relief, each topped with a decorative stone, the multi-paned windows and the dropped cornice. The street level is divided into four units and has housed a wide variety of tenants through the years. The second-floor meeting rooms and office space and the third floor auditorium were utilized by the Swedish Olive Lodge until 1988.
Anyone have any stories about this, or history with the Order of Odd Fellows? Also, none of this description really says where its located, so does anyone even know that? Maybe its a Where in the QC? after all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Oneida neighborhood?

Here's a map I put together of some of the stuff going on around Oneida Landing in Davenport.
If all 3 of the proposed projects become a reality, they should fit well with the existing KSTT renovation, Boat House Restaurant, and Lake Davenport Sailing Club. This mini-neighborhood could do a lot to connect downtown with the Village of East Davenport.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunderbruch Park Grand Opening

Here are some images I got yesterday at the opening of Davenport's newest park.

There were booths set up for different organizations, including horseback riding and mountain biking organizations. Those 2 groups are going to be some of the biggest users, and hopefully caretakers, of this park.

The grand opening/ribbon cuttings for the skatepark, the Fairmount Library, and now Sunderbruch Park have all been very well attended, and the first two have become extremely well-used and popular amenities. I'm sure that this one will be as well.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Weekend Davenport Events

Swing of the Quad Cities fireworks night
Friday, May 18th 7:00PM
John O'Donnell Stadium

Public Works Fair
Saturday, May 19th, 9:00AM-1:00PM
To be held at Public Works (I assume)

Sunderbruch Park Grand Opening
Saturday, May 19th 1:00PM
4500 Telegraph Road

Swing of the Quad Cities Family Fun Day
Saturday, May 19th 1:00PM
John O'Donnell Stadium

Family Fest 2007
Sunday, May 20th 12:00PM-4:00PM
Fejervary Park and Children's Zoo

Also on Saturday, your blog author becomes an old man, as I hit the big "25". Next stop is 30, and then you're practically dead.
Just kidding about the old man thing, folks... I had to throw in a little jibe towards the 99% of my readers who are older than I.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A week's worth of news

I was too busy to do any posting from Phoenix, but I did keep reading the news from down there. Here are a few of the things that I would have commented on if I had time:

The Aaron Howard scandal:
My first reaction was, lets wait until all the facts come out. However, when the fact that drug stuff was found came out, I pretty much gave up on the guy. He always seemed decent going to school with him, but I guess event decent folks can make mistakes. Too many mistakes can (and should) cost you your job, although I do find it funny that one of his 10 Alderman bosses had worse problems with no real repercussions. The whole thing is unfortunate for all involved.

The Mallards possibly moving to the AHL:
None of the rumor-filled articles mention whether they would keep the name, but they certainly wouldn't stay with the Aksarben Knights (Nebraska backwards) and they should learn from the Swing and stick with what fans like. Hopefully we can start a rivalry with Des Moines, and fuel it on the AbsoluteDSM forums.

The whole skatepark graffiti thing:
When I mentioned back in March that I thought we shouldn't worry about the graffiti if it wasn't obscene or gang-related, I never would have guessed that the city, and especially this council, could be so progressive to even consider the idea. The stuff about the "lights, fences, and cameras" I really don't understand though, because I thought there were already plans for lights and cameras. It was supposed to be lit sometime this summer so it could be open 24 hours a day. Anyone know if that's been changed? The problem now will be keeping them from tagging other stuff, which brings me to...

The Centennial Park/Skatepark pavilion: (same article as graffiti)
Updated at 6am: Good job council, thanks for moving forward on this.
Its time to stop spending thousands of dollars in staff time nitpicking this and just get it done. Its a city park, and very popular, and it needs bathrooms. Despite Economic genius Lynn's insistence, building bathrooms and a utility room raised above a flood plain is going to cost more than $500. Davenport has bigger things to worry about than this.

Creative Tile building renovations:
This is a great thing, and should really mesh well with what's going to be happening in the area. As I mentioned in the Oneida Landing condos post, JJ Condon is going to be looking at renovating the One River Place in addition to his 8 story condo tower. This whole area could make a really neat neighborhood, and help to connect downtown to the Village of East Davenport. If the big riverboats aren't able to dock in downtown when (if) we get a new pier, maybe at least the Oneida Landing area won't look so shabby when they let off passengers.

Also, check out this QCOnline article about guest columnist Julie Barton's move to "the big city" of the QC area. Its an interesting perspective.

QCI Returns (Open Thread)

I have returned from the smoggy inferno, and hope to post something of substance (as much as I ever do) later today.

Until then, Open Thread. You can't say there hasn't been stuff to talk about...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Downtown Cleanup

Cruiser's post reminded me to look into when the Downtown Davenport Cleanup is, and of course... its tomorrow. I knew it was while I was going to be gone, but I was thinking it was also this weekend. Here's the info from

Annual Downtown Cleanup Day
Sponsored by The Starting Line

Thursday, May 10
1 hour shift between 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
Download the Volunteer Form

It's time to start cleaning up downtown Davenport and getting ready for the thousands of visitors that will be coming to Downtown Davenport starting in May. We are teaming up with Keep Scott County Beautiful and the Great American Cleanup TM to give volunteers a FREE t-shirt, garbage bags, and gloves.

All volunteers are invited to The Starting Line "thank-you party" with free beverages, hors d'oeuvres and more - at the Starting Line, 217 Brady Street, Downtown Davenport, following the Cleanup at 6:00 p.m.

If you can't make volunteer check-in, call our offices and we will make arrangements to get the bags, gloves and FREE t-shirts to you.
Call Marcy at (563) 322-1706.

Too Busy to Blog Open Thread

I'm flying off to Phoenix Thursday morning, and I have been too busy preparing for that to really write about anything since the 6th Street post. On a side note, I have been pleased with the good discussion on the last couple posts. I wasn't too busy to get out and play a little home run derby Saturday, but I've been waiting all winter for this summer's first swing of the bat.

There are a couple of posts I've been thinking about writing, but they may have to wait until I get back Tuesday.

I'm sure I'll manage to post something from the desert though.

Here's a link, just for the heck of it. I really hope Michelle Wie makes her 3rd trip to the John Deere Classic this year. The QC area is practically her second home from some of the comments that have come from her dad. Hopefully Quad City folks will get another chance to watch her play here, and thank her in person for her generosity to Travis Hearn.

Monday, May 07, 2007

East 6th Street Renewal Project
Just Add Money

This weekend I was scanning through the local real estate websites, as I often do. I noticed that there are several properties for sale in my neighborhood, including 3 just in the block of East 6th between Iowa and LeClaire. They're marked on the map to the right. The dark blue areas are completed new residential buildings, including the Crescent, Waterloo Mills, and 4th Street Lofts, and the CityView Apartments. The buildings highlighted with the lighter blue are currently owned by the Alexander Company and marked for future residential conversion. It seems to me that these 3 properties would be a good investment with the consistent improvement in the neighborhood over just the last 3 years. In the future I could even see some kind of 3-5 story new residential construction in this area to take advantage of the view, and the proximity to downtown. If people will pay $160k+ to live behind HyVee, why not here?

Here are the properties:
414 E 6th Street      $ 6000 (Its a vacant lot)          Assessed at $2870
420 E 6th Street      $35000                        Assessed at $33300
403 E 6th Street      $74900                        Assessed at $21000 (?)

Total: A mere $115,900

One of you developer types has to have that laying around, or even some decent landlord could rent out the two houses until the area develops further. Once that happens, you'd own a serious chunk of this potentially valuable block.

Of course, since this is "the internets," one or more of these properties could already be sold, as the real estate sites tend to be slow to update. They're all listed by Mel Foster, but my links are to Ruhl, mostly because the Mel Foster website annoys me.

Friday, May 04, 2007

RiverCenter Casino?

I've been hearing rumors about Isle of Capri's possible interest in the RiverCenter for a while now, but it was always prefaced with "This isn't for the blog..." Anyway, now that Craig Malin was on TV a few days back mentioning this exact possibility, and a couple newspaper articles were written about it, I'm going to consider it public knowledge.

Rhythm City is rumored to be looking into moving their operation into one of the halves of the RiverCenter, and either renovating the Blackhawk or building a new hotel. This would keep them downtown and allow the project to be used as the local matching funds to get the CAT grant for redeveloping LeClaire Park.
As always, there are pros and cons to the idea.


  • Gets the casino off of the riverfront and keeps it downtown
  • Takes the money-losing RiverCenter off the city's hands
  • Possibly renovates the Blackhawk back to former glory
  • Instead of working to attract more conventions, we give up
  • Smaller auto show, pool tournament, Festival of Trees, etc
  • Can IOC preserve the Blackhawk as it should be?
One of the big issues for me would be which side (North or South) of the RiverCenter. The older half on the north side of 3rd Street is directly adjacent to the Blackhawk, which would allow IOC to renovate that and have their casino in close proximity. That side is also looking a little more dated than the newer, southern half. A new hotel tower and/or parking garage could also be built in the vast parking lot that currently surrounds the Blackhawk. Unfortunately, I'm hearing more about them looking at the newer half. In one of the news articles discussing this, the green space on 2nd Street across from Majors was also mentioned. I suppose this could be a site for a new hotel as well.

At first I was completely against giving up any of the RiverCenter, because I believe its a fairly short-sighted thing to do. If Davenport starts growing more like some of us think its about to, my generation could end up building a new RiverCenter-type convention hall 10 or 20 years down the line, and wishing we hadn't turned half of our old one into a casino. Currently though, only a few events per year actually use both halves of the RiverCenter, so maybe losing half wouldn't be as big of a deal. Unfortunately, I believe that IOC has proven their complete inability to take care of the historic Blackhawk Hotel, and I really don't trust them to maintain its historic integrity. I'd still like to see a new hotel tower built, and the Blackhawk turned into a 100+ room convention hotel maintaining the Gold Room with apartments/condos on the top floors, just as the city was already planning to do. Or, I'd still be fine with my previously-suggested plan to build a hotel/waterpark/casino on the parking lot surrounding the Blackhawk.

What do you folks think? (And also, will what people think matter?)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Buses, kids, and old buildings

I went to the Swing game yesterday, and had the luck/misfortune of it being "High School Day." Apparently this means kids of all ages from about a 30-mile radius take a day off of school and get bused to JOD for some baseball. It was neat to see thousands of kids packing the stadium, at least until it came time to stand in line for a hot dog. Despite having a big crowd, only 2 of the concession stands were open, so there was quite a wait to get food. However, it was great to see the home team really blow out the visitors for once, including a 10-run 5th inning. The attendance was nearly 4000, counting all the kids.

Also, if you're downtown this week, stop by the Design Center. In honor of Historic Preservation Week, they will be hosting an exhibit called "Davenport Lost." It is filled with side-by-side images of historic buildings around Davenport that have been lost over the passing years, and what those locations look like today. Pretty interesting stuff, if you're into history at all. The Design Center is located on the northeast corner of 2nd and Brady.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Where in the QC is this? #15

Update: This hasn't been the smoothest Where in the QC is this? week. MRC may have guessed correctly that this is from the old Rock Island High School, but I don't actually know. I was just driving by and thought "that would be a good mystery image." I don't know the history of this building, but I do know its located just west of downtown Rock Island behind the courthouse/jail complex. Can someone confirm what this building is? Here's an overview image. I'll try to actually know what I'm taking a picture of next time.Clue #1: I know I'm normally lazy with these, but this time the image is actually from a non-Davenport Quad City.

A hot time in the old town last night

I was able to listen to the police scanner quite a bit last night, and it was a rowdy night for everyone.

Hopefully none of you live in Northwest Davenport, because some dimwits were out breaking car windows again. Last I heard, the cops had found the suspect vehicle, but it was unoccupied. Hopefully they catch the suspects and get them (or their parents) to pay for the damage they caused.

The Guardian Angels ran into some trouble last night. I'm sure Cruiser will probably fill in the details, but it was pretty interesting to hear the stuff coming over the scanner. Keep in mind that my account is simply from police radio traffic, and that I wasn't there. I wish I had had a way to record it so I could have a proper transcript.

I heard some mentions of cops going to the 500 block of 3rd street, and the intersection of 3rd and Western. At one point I heard an officer ask for fire and medic because "another Guardian Angel is down here." And by down, he meant down on the ground. I don't know if there was another incident earlier in the night or what he meant by "another." A few minutes later another officer requested fire and medic for a person who had been assaulted (cop's words, not mine) by the other Guardian Angels. At one point a firefighter said on the radio that they were told the 2nd victim (not the GA) was ok. He didn't say who told him that, but a cop got on the radio immediately and said that was not true, and that the guy was "bleeding all over the sidewalk." That cop sounded... well, pissed.

Now, one of the things I hadn't really argued with Cruiser over was his assertion that most cops favor the GAs. There are a couple reasons I found that very believable:
1. Despite their insistence on also being fists, they are "another pair of eyes and ears" out on the streets. They can alert officers to problems, shots fired, suspicious behavior, etc, much like a neighborhood watch.
2. The cops are (mostly) not fans of Bladel, and the GAs are making him look bad. This may be cynical, but I'd suspect that its at least part of the reason.

However, whichever cop got on the radio to insist on getting the 2nd Paramedic did not sound at all pleased with the Guardian Angels, and I can only hope it wasn't any GA that told the firefighters that the guy was unhurt. Based solely on what I heard on the radio, last night's incident reinforces my belief that the GAs could be a great thing for our community, if only they didn't insist on physical intervention. I'm sure Cruiser will have an entirely different version of what happened last night, so maybe it wasn't as bad as I think.

Update: Cruiser actually beat me to it, and here's the link.