Friday, June 29, 2007

Davenport is growing

Here's yesterday's QCTimes article about the 2006 Census Estimates.

I did a few minutes of web searching, and managed to find Census data, or estimates for the following years:

2000 --98,359
2001 --97,956
2002 --97,735
2003 --97,512
2004 --98,351
2005 --98,964
2006 --99,514

Thanks to David for providing a link to the rest of the data I was missing earlier, and I have revised my graph accordingly.

When the 2005 estimate came out, a big deal was made that in 5 years we only gained 605 new residents. Even this QCTimes article from April mentions how we were one of the slowest growing metros from 2000-2005. What these statements don't really take into account is that we hit the bottom of the curve during this 5 year period. While its not impressive that Davenport grew from 98,359 residents to 98,964 in 5 years, its a lot more impressive that we grew from 97,512 to 99,514 in 3 years. Its also often true that census estimates are lower than what ends up being the case when the actual census comes out.

Reading blog comments, QCTimes comments, most letters to the editor, and folks speaking to the city council, you constantly hear "I'm moving away because of the (skybridge, stormwater fee, push pin, Craig Malin, parking meters, skatepark graffiti, baseball team name, or dozens of other inane reasons)" but its clear that this isn't what's really happening. Whether these negative nuts are really moving away because of the ominous threat of riverfront push pins or not, Davenport is growing. At this rate we'll soon be back over 100,000 for the first time in years.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dan Vance passes away

A guest editorial by Colonel Davenport

Love him or hate him, Dan loved Davenport. He was a worker, loved the inner city and wanted Davenport to succeed. A Vietnam vet, disc jockey, elected official and small time newspaper man, the guy lived for a better America, a better Davenport.
As bloggers, political want to bee's, or the interested citizen; few are willing to step forward and serve. Dan was one guy that was willing to do so. I pray Davenporters realize his contributions and his desire for this great city to be better.
May the good Lord embrace the soul of Daniel Vance, and provide grace and comfort to his extended family.

Regular blogging will resume later today

A few news article links

Moline moves closer to curbside recycling -QCOnline
Good job Moline, and welcome to the 1990's. We'll see what kind of uproar they have over a new $2.50 recycling fee. Probably not much of one. Nobody can throw an uproar like Davenporters.

Sonic set to open Davenport location -QCTimes
When I drove past this last week, it looked almost ready to go then. The article makes it sound like all their carhops are on skates, but that hasn't been my experience at Phoenix-area Sonics. Also, I wrongly thought that Sonic is what was going in on the NE corner of 53rd and Elmore. Since the article explains that they're looking farther south, near American, does anyone know what's going in at Elmore and 53rd?

Oh yeah, and this little bit of news...

IOC proposes expanded, land-based Bett casino -QCTimes
"Haynes said the Isle’s interest in building an expanded, land-based casino in Bettendorf does not mean it is focusing its Quad-City operations at that site. She said its casino in Davenport, the Rhythm City, is entirely separate."
That must be why you're trying to shoehorn a cheap casino into an existing space instead of building a new, top-of-the-line hotel/casino complex near the Blackhawk.

Also, don't forget Alderman Frink's ward meeting at the River Music Experience tonight at 5pm.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Something completely different

After all the feisty debate that went on yesterday, I figured we needed a nice non-controversial subject for today's post. What could be less controversial than city-sponsored graffiti/art at our new million dollar skatepark?

This one was my favorite of the completed sections. There were a couple of guys already skating down there at 5:55, so I had to avoid being run over. Actually they were very respectful of this weirdo taking pictures, and I thank them for that.

The one on the left appears to still be in progress, although I do like the Davenport logo at the top. The image on the right isn't really my thing, but different art for different folks. I do like the haunted-looking riverboat.

The Concrete Rodeo that is painted on the image is mentioned in today's QCTimes article about the new paint work. It says:
The Davenport skatepark will host the Concrete Rodeo 2007 Tour today. The tour is hitting 37 cities in 19 states. Prizes will be awarded in eight age groups, and there will be boys and girls divisions. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the tournament begins at 11 a.m. There is a $25 entry fee. The skatepark will be open for public use during the tournament.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Chalk one up for the positive side

Davenport, Rock Island share national honor -QCTimes

Here's Bill Wundram's take on it.

People around the country are starting to catch on to what we have here.
Now if only people around the Quad Cities would do the same.

Every time friends of mine come into town, or I show first-time visitors around they seem impressed. I guess a lot of the locals have forgotten just how bad things were in the late 80's when they complain about how things are going now.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Saturday morning image

Three different eras of architecture: 1920's, 60's/70's, and modern. One of the things I like about downtown Davenport is the mixture of buildings. Mississippi Plaza, the Figge, and the skybridge gave it that bit of steel and glass modernism that it needed.

Don't forget the Taste of the Quad Cities in Moline. Its not exactly a beautiful day for it, but I'm still going to try and make it over there for lunch.

Friday, June 22, 2007

2 upcoming ward meetings

Election time is coming up, so its time for everyone to start having ward meetings! Actually these 2 Alderman have had them before, so that's not fair criticism. We'll see if Dumas, Van Fossen, Howard, or Brooke suddenly has one.

Ian Frink, ald. at large, will host an all-wards meeting at 5 pm, Wed. June 27th, at the River Music Experience (2nd floor): corner of Main and Second. The meeting is the second in the city's third ward since taking office and first all-wards meeting downtown.

Topics of discussion will include current items before the council, an update on downtown and riverfront planning, and any other ideas brought forward by citizens.

Topics may be submitted prior to the meeting via email ( or by calling 563-508-2842.

From the QCTimes:
Alderman Barney Barnhill, 7th Ward, will host a ward meeting from 6-7:30 p.m. June 28 at Kaplan University, 1801 E. Kimberly Road, Davenport. Attendees should use the north entrance.
Topics up for discussion will include current items before the council and any other ideas brought forward by residents.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Open Thread!

I finally got a new inner tube for my bike, and decided to ride to work last night. It showed me that I'm out of shape in my old age! Just kidding folks. Actually I wish I had brought my camera with me, as I saw tons of wildlife (even deer) and other interesting things on my way home this morning. I missed Bike-to-Work Week by a month, but its never too late to save gas/money/the environment/take your pick.

Good job to the council, including Keith and Bill Lynn, who passed the Downtown Design Guidelines last night. If the Village of East Davenport is worth protecting from crappy buildings, I would hope that our downtown core/central business district is worth protecting as well.

The second house across from Sacred Heart was torn down yesterday, which really opens up a new view of the Cathedral. They really knew how to build 'em back then.

Other than that, I'll just call this an open thread.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bill Boom makes it official

I got this email from Bill tonight. Its a copy of his remarks from his candidacy announcement today.

June 18th, 2007

To whom it may concern,

My name is Bill Boom, and I am making my candidacy for Alderman of the 3rd Ward of Davenport official Tuesday, June 19th at 3:00pm. You have been invited to this important event that will be held at Riverview Terrace Park at the end of Washington Street and Clay Street. The fact that I was narrowly defeated (9 votes) in the last election cycle by the current sitting incumbent, I feel this will be one of the most competitive races in the next city wide elections. Please join me, many supporters, elected officials, and city dignitaries for this important event.

Thank you for your consideration,

Bill Boom

Monday, June 18, 2007

Baseball, 2 demos and a house flip

These are 3 random things, but a certain other blogger used the Randomness title already today.

I went to the Swing game Saturday night with my family, and as Pioneer mentioned on his blog, it was pretty packed. It was John Deere night, free "flying disc" night, and fireworks night, in addition to being the day before Father's Day and in the midst of Sturgis. The Swing turned a triple play, which is probably the first time I've seen that live at any level of baseball. Having a good crowd like that really demonstrates the difference that attendance makes to the excitement of the game. With that big of a crowd, there actually was a "roar of the crowd" instead of a "cheer of 300 people." Apparently the Thrivent/Special Olympics-sponsored night last week involved $2 tickets, and had over 6000 people in attendance. If the soon-to-be new owners of the Swing are able to lower ticket prices a bit, maybe we can see big crowds for most games. Once we start having big crowds, with more excitement during the game, then more people will want to return for more games. I've said before that it makes more sense to me to have 5000 people paying $5 than 2500 people paying $9, especially when you factor in concessions. I'm no business major though...

For those of you that don't make it SoLo to see these kinds of things, demolition has finally begun on the two houses south of Sacred Heart. The first house on the corner is already gone, and the next house to the south looks ready to go this week. I've asked before, but does anyone know what the plans are for these? I believe they're owned by the Cathedral.

I noticed this on the city's website the other day.
Investor's Opportunity
1711 Grand Avenue
Davenport, Iowa 52803

This privately owned building is being recommended for demolition as part of a code enforcement effort by the City of Davenport.

The goal is to make the public aware of buildings that are being considered for demolition by the City of Davenport in an effort to locate interested investors that are willing to rehab the buildings and return them to code compliant condition and as active, tax producing properties.

Here's a shot of the home in question. Apparently the city is recommending people try to buy it off of the current owner before they (the city?) are forced to demolish it. Hopefully someone is inspired by all these shows on TV and decides to snap it up and renovate it. Too bad since its SoLo you can't resell it for a profit...

If you can't find something worthwhile to comment about these widely varying stories, you're not trying hard enough.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

RiverCenter quiz

This is all in relation to today's QCTimes article about the newest RiverCenter Casino news.

Here's a Saturday morning quiz. Match the quotes to the Alderman that said them. This was inspired by this post over at Information Swimming.

#1 said the Alder Theatre should be split off from the RiverCenter and run separately. The newly renovated theater will likely be successful. The city should look at other options for the RiverCenter.

#2 said “I have a hard time seeing us keep it open on the shoulders of the rest of citizens who have to come up $630,000 every year.” “We should look at the cost of shutting it down or selling it.”

#3 said the city subsidizes a number of cultural and recreational activities in Davenport from the Figge Art Museum to recreation programs. Failure to hire someone to run the RiverCenter would “cause considerable harm to the other businesses downtown,” he said.

#4 said “In my two-and-a-half years on the council, not once have we seriously considered alternative uses for the RiverCenter." “It’s time to cut it loose.”

#5 said “When I hear that we are only subsidizing it at ($630,000 a year), it gives me a cold chill,” “I’m still concerned about the direction the RiverCenter is going. I would like to see the subsidy reduced a whole lot more.”

Hint: All the answers can be found here and here in the QCTimes archives.

Answers: (technically I should have found a way to make these upside down so you can't spoil your guessing, but here you go anyway)

#1 is Shawn Hamerlinck
#2 is Ron Van Fossen
#3 is Barney Barnhill
#4 is Keith Meyer
#5 is Bill Lynn

How much do you want to bet that some of those people will be exhibiting a bit of flip-flopping in the coming months? Ah, the internet, where people can't hide from their past statements.

Friday, June 15, 2007

More Wilco stuff

Here are the rest of my decent Wilco images, since people seem into that.

And here's a short video clip that I took.

601st Post Open Thread

While signing into Blogspot this morning to throw up this Open Thread, I noticed that the previous post was the 600th for the Quad City Images blog. The 500th would have been more of a milestone, but I guess I wasn't paying attention whenever I hit that.

Here's an image from last night's Bix at 6. For those of you who in the last 2 years have decided to become appalled by this event, I recommend crossing the route at 4th and Iowa. The cop there was letting cars go across sooner than they would waiting for the light, and the only time that its completely too busy to cross is when the initial crowd comes by for maybe 10 minutes at 6:02 or so. That's around the time I took this picture.I might actually have several posts today, although every time I make that claim I get too busy to write them all. We'll see.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wilco and a message to the Adler

Thanks to Wilco for putting on a heck of a show last night at the Adler. I'm no longtime fan, but I enjoy their music, and the tickets were cheap, so I decided to go. I'm certainly glad I did, and their opening act, Low, was just as good.

Unfortunately, the whole evening was nearly ruined by a fight that broke out, and the Adler's absolutely horrible response to it. During the second song of the encore, for whatever reason there was a fight near the stage along the aisle. Now, for those of you that don't know Wilco, it really isn't that type of concert. No mosh put, no crowd surfing, etc. At a typical professionally run concert, some sort of security or bouncers would have immediately escorted the fighters out of the theater.

Unfortunately, last night the fight was allowed to continue for several minutes, with someone clearly getting the worst of it. I could see one guy kneeling down and clearly punching downwards at someone already on the ground. People were yelling for security, and the band, while still playing, was looking very dismayed that nothing was being done. As soon as they finished the song, the band itself asked for some security up there. They had to be wondering what would happen if these two or three nuts decided to take that fight onto the stage. Literally the entire Adler was focused on this, and others in my group saw a guy with a bloody face. The best security response that seemed to show up was one of the 70-year old guys in top hats that hold the front doors open for people.

Somehow the fighters were finally removed, but it had completely killed the mood of the whole place. Wilco did the final song of their encore, and the concert let out. However, instead of talking about the great show, everyone was talking about the fight. Many of us were standing around outside talking on the sidewalk in front of the theater. Now, everyone knows that I rarely criticize the DPD, but they really made a bad situation worse last night. They were quite rude with people who were very harmlessly standing around talking after the concert. Had it not been for the fight, these crowds downtown would have been no issue. I'm sure the cops were using their typical experience where if they drive away from a mob, they'll just be called back there 2 minutes later for a fight. However, none of the Wilco concert goers except for the 2 or 3 involved idiots had any interest in fighting. We wouldn't have needed the 4 or 5 squad cars that were parked along 3rd street if 1 or 2 police officers had been present at the concert. It was a small fight, and would have been over in seconds if there had been any officers on hand to stop it.

A number of out of town people were at the concert, because it was the opening concert of their US tour, and one of their ONLY midwest stops. I heard of people coming from as far away as Minneapolis and Madison. Instead of leaving in a great mood after a great concert in a beautiful historic venue, people left talking about a terrible lack of security and overbearing police. The worst part is that this isn't even the first time. There was also a fight at folk singer John Prine's concert last March. Reading some online reviews of that concert gives mixed opinions on whether the problem was quickly taken care of, or there was a similar lack of security.

Please, folks in charge of the Adler, and city officials.... get some serious security at these concerts. Don't just assume that because its peaceful indie rock folks that 2 jackasses won't ruin it for everyone. And DPD, maybe next time try not to treat said peaceful indie rock fans like a violent mob when they're standing around harmlessly on downtown sidewalks and plazas.

Here's Wilco's tour list, which shows us among a very impressive list of cities around the world. I wouldn't expect us to continue getting quality acts like this if things aren't changed at the Adler.

Here's a forum where people are already reviewing the show. Surfing around this forum has shown me that people were in town from all over the US for the concert.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Central's new gym

Here are a couple of images of the construction underway on Central's new "auxiliary gym." I'll be curious to see if the final design fits in at all with the 100+ year old portion of the building, and the existing gym. As part of the project the building that was known as the "Annex" in my day, and I'm sure something else in my parents' era, is being demolished. In the second half of my 4 years at Central the building was the detention headquarters, so students were threatened that they would be "sent to the Annex." At the time it also housed Central's Iowa Communications Network classroom, or ICN, so it made for an interesting mixture of people in that building. I'd suspect that the ICN classroom was relocated into the main building during the massive renovations that have occurred in the last 7 years.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Baseball movie and a good blog post

Just a couple of things this morning:

Baseball movie to be filmed at John O'Donnell Stadium -QCTimes
This is pretty neat stuff, especially if it shows Davenport in a good light. Hopefully it won't be something like Dominican baseball player deals with hick farmers or something similarly stereotypical. The fact that they chose a stadium that sits near 2 downtowns gives me some hope that it will show the real Iowa, instead of the NYC idea of Iowa.

The $600,000 question -Information Swimming
Pioneer98 has a great post on his blog, and if any of you don't normally read it you should at least check this one out. It summarizes several of the things going on lately, and points out how divisive we, as Davenporters, seem to be.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Post-Storm Cleanup Day

Last night's storm didn't seem that dramatic downtown, but when I got to work I started hearing about all the damage that it caused. The Fire Department was quite busy all night responding to power lines down calls, and trees on fire, etc. The hill beneath the Putnam had quite a few large branches and trees down.

Hope everyone came through the storm ok.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Thursday Assortment

Here's yesterday's QCTimes article about the RiverCenter-casino thing. The comments are strange, but they always are. I wonder where all the people who have been saying we need to dump the RiverCenter for years are now that the city actually mentions doing it.

Here's an RCReader editorial about the casino thing, which takes an unsurprising jab at city officials for the last IOC deal. The editorial assumes a lot, considering that none of us have seen the deal yet. I think people should hold their criticism until we see the agreement. Hopefully we get a chance to before its approved.

Farther down the page on that Reader link there is some mention of the Oneida Landing project, specifically directed at its effects on the flood plain. The last I knew the plan was for the bottom floor to be parking garage that could be opened up to allow flood waters to pass underneath the building, minimizing any hydro effects. Maybe that's changed, or maybe the Reader hadn't heard about it.

And then, of course, we have a slight rehash of my Tuesday morning rant. My Alderman has taken the time to prove he doesn't support downtown Davenport.

Here's today's QCTimes article about the continuing struggle to pass a common sense ordinance which would initiate downtown design guidelines, similar to what the East Village already has. The article quotes Alderman Meyer as saying, "Downtown Davenport is a failure."


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

3 Images Open Thread

No one seems to use my open threads anymore, but here's one anyway, with pictures.

There must be things going on in the QC other than the usual few subjects that always get talked about around the blogs.

Here are some shots I got on a 2 hour downtown walk-around after the air show Sunday. I'll probably have another post later today.The alley between the 2nd/Ripley parking ramp and the New Ventures Center, looking East.

The Arsenal Bridge, and a lot of grain cars passing underneath the Skybridge.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Downtown Davenport should secede from the Third Ward

For years, the residents that live in the neighborhoods surrounding downtown Davenport, along with 3rd Ward Alderman Keith Meyer, have complained that downtown gets all the resources, and the rest of the ward is left out. Their point is valid, and the "fringe" around downtown should receive that attention that it deserves.

Today though, I, as a downtown resident, would like my Alderman to realize that while the Third Ward may not consist solely of downtown, his ward DOES INCLUDE IT. However, everything Alderman Meyer does seems to be against a successful downtown. There are numerous examples of this, but the one that inspires this rant is his maneuver to defeat the Downtown Design Guidelines. Here's a link to today's QCTimes article which mentions it; the design standards story is past the parking story.

Alderman Meyer proposed an amendment to the ordinance that makes the design guidelines voluntary. Can someone explain how that would make any sense? Would the East Village be satisfied with design guidelines (yes, they already have them) that have no teeth? If Walmart decides they want to build a 1 story suburban-style store downtown, apparently that's just fantastic. Does Keith even believe we need a downtown? Should it be different than any other commercial district? These guidelines are approved of by downtown businesses, but apparently Meyer knows better than they what's good for them.

With hundreds of new residents moving into downtown, I don't know that Alderman Meyer can continue down this route and expect to continue being elected. In the last election Bill Boom missed a chance to speak to the 80+ residents of the Crescent Lofts, and he lost by 9 votes. Now there are even more downtown newcomers in the 4th Street Lofts, CityView apartments, and Mississippi Lofts. Does anyone think that many people who recently made the choice to live downtown are going to vote for someone that consistently votes against downtown projects and amenities? These are the very reasons many of us moved down here, and the Crescent, 4th, and Mississippi Lofts would not even exist without River Renaissance. Meyer already lost the D-33 precinct 96-70 in 2005, and with over 200 apartments added downtown in the last few years, that 9-vote lead from 2005 is making the 2007 election look like it'll be pretty interesting.

And yes, I tend to rant on Tuesday mornings.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Airshow 2007

I'm getting lax on my posting, so I'll try to do better on that this week. In the mean time, here are some images from the Quad City Air Show yesterday.
The United States Air Force Thunderbirds. As someone who goes to the air show literally every year, I usually start heading for the car during the final act, because its basically the same as 2 years ago. However this year, after sticking it out through the rain and mud, we stayed through the Thunderbird's performance, and I'm glad. It was quite impressive and there were even a few maneuvers that I don't remember from previous years.

A UH-60Q Blackhawk, which hadn't made an appearance at the air show lately, and an A1 Skyraider, which I don't recall ever appearing at the QCAS before.

Jim LeRoy's Bulldog stunt plane, and of course... everyone's favorite triple jet semi, Shockwave.

A few more pictures can be found on my Flickr page.

Friday, June 01, 2007

A good afternoon to stay inside

I woke up and the air raid sirens were going off, so I happened to turn on my police scanner. The USBank at 4004 Northwest Boulevard was just robbed, so the police were flying out that way. Then all the calls for power lines down and poles on fire, and such started coming in. Its one of those days where you can really see how difficult and stressful it is to be an emergency dispatcher.

Currently the police are following a person who matches the description on I-280.
Update: It doesn't appear that that person was the suspect, but officers are considering to look for people matching the description.