Friday, January 18, 2008

QCI's 2008 Wishlist

I finally got around to putting together my Top 5 Wishes for the Quad Cities in 2008. Some of these are similar to my "12 Headlines" post from last July.

#1. Illinois comes through for us
This refers to both the QC-Chicago rail connection funding, and the years-overdue WIU-QC campus. They are both no-brainers, but as I've said before, that is about the number of brains that seem to be in Springfield lately. The WIU campus has the land, has Federal grants for improving the area, and already has private businesses lining up to build projects in the area. The Amtrak project looks to be equally logical, at least according to the feasibility study. Illinois, lets get your act together!

#2. Land a large downtown project
Our downtown progress has shifted to smaller projects like the Skatepark, Capitol renovation, and the former tailor shop being renovated on Ripley. We need something big to really send a message about downtown's increasing vibrancy. My top two choices would be a mixed-use building with office, condo, and apartment components, or the Gameworks/InPlay/Dave & Busters idea that I've been hoping for for years now.

#3 Figure out the Casino
Speaking of large downtown projects, it would be nice to get the amazing Blackhawk renovation plans in motion. It would also be nice to put the LeClaire Park revitalization into action. What are these waiting on? Of course, they're waiting for IOC to stop screwing Davenport for a few minutes and allow some progress. At this point I've given up on them actually doing a useful project of their own, but it'd sure be nice if they'd at least get our of our way.

#4. Redevelop the former hotel and cinema sites on North Brady
I'm glad the new Davenport welcome sign wasn't put farther north, because at least this way we can pretend these eyesores aren't actually part of our city.

#5. Learn to market the Quad Cities better
I believe we have a great community here, and a lot of people feel the same way. The question is why we sometimes seem to be aiming for the "best kept secret in the Midwest" title. We should be advertising in Des Moines, Peoria, Chicago, etc. Show off our low cost of living, many recreational opportunities, history, culture, and multiple downtowns all making progress. Show people that we're not the Quad Cities of the 1980's anymore.

23 Comments:

At 1/18/2008 10:46 AM, Anonymous Coltrane said...

That, my friend, is an excellent list. I'm hoping to see progress in all of those departments.

As for downtown Davenport, don't forget the Freight House and Salvation Army building will finally see the fruition of many years of work in 08, so that should be some built in success.

I hope Illinois can pull off it's bigger projects as well. The rail line would be fantastic, and its insane that a community our size still doesn't have a 4-Year public University.

 
At 1/18/2008 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former Illinois resident, I find it really interesting that Springfield is in termoil with-in the same party. The Dems seem to hate each other more than those "right wing" folks across the isle these days. When I lived in Illinois, I used to laugh at the Davenport circus weekly. Now looking back across the pond to Illinois, I find it sometimes humorous, but we have a lot at stake to laugh too much. But don't get your hopes up too high, until Blago get impeached/eaten by his own party.

I also attended the first-3rd ward meeting last night. Bill Boom launched his 3rd ward action team concept. VERY INTERESTING, and it was well attended by many residents, neighborhood organizations, AND CITY STAFF!!!!! He had a very professional power point presentation and it was very well done. I felt that Bill is being very proactive in his represenation style, and was very well accepted by the residents, they actually they seemed to be excited to have this pilot program starting in the long lost, forgotten 3rd ward.
Bravo!!!

 
At 1/18/2008 12:39 PM, Anonymous Out Side Looking IN said...

Very good post and two very good coments.

I am encouraged!

 
At 1/18/2008 12:41 PM, Anonymous Outside Looking In said...

Opps, sorry about the typo.

Very good post and two very good comments.

I am encouraged!

 
At 1/18/2008 1:26 PM, Anonymous freda said...

While I'm no fan of Governor Blagoevich, at least the Governor and Illinois recognize the importance of passenger rail. Illinois has multiple intrastate routes made possible by state subsidies. In the past two years, the state has icreased the frequency of trains on existing routes and is considering adding routes to unserved areas including the Quad Cities. Iowa and most other states put no money into passenger rail.

 
At 1/18/2008 1:40 PM, Anonymous Coltrane said...

I'd be the first guy in line if I could ride the train out of Rock Island right in to the heart of downtown Chicago.

You could catch a cubs game, leave stumbling drunk, and arrive back in the Quad-Cities safer AND faster!

What's not to like! :)

 
At 1/18/2008 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like downtown and hope the progrss continues. What I would like to see is a real focus on crime reduction and creating a more desirable presence dow there. What I mean is that the people around the 3rd street mart are really scarry and would deter anyone from wanting to live there or be there. We need to look to attract a different class of people to Davenport in general. We have too much poverty and too much low income stuff. We are currently attacting rejects from Chicago public housing here and we are unfortunately seeing the negative effects.

I could not attend the Boom meeting but have hig hopes for him and the plans.What I want him to ficus on is how our 3rd ward looks. Meaning I want him to celan up the bad rentals and nasty housing stock. Not everything needs a major overhall, just a little code enforcement will do.

 
At 1/18/2008 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think crime is over-rated downtown. I attended the SSMID meeting back in November, and the police chief showed some astounding LOW numbers for crime in downtown.

The highly publicised 3rd St. Mart does bring some shady people, but it's not even in the core of the downtown.

The main hunk of downtown that people readily use each day actually has a phenominally low crime rate. The 3rd St. Mart area definately needs some work, but people take a giant leap when they then make the case that the rest of downtown is equally unsafe.

It just perpetuates the notion that it's super dangerous in downtown, and frankly, it's not.

 
At 1/18/2008 5:13 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

I've been saying that for years, but people seem to either not believe me, or not want to believe me because a crime-ridden downtown fits into their view of Davenport.

East of Ripley, the only things that need work are:
A. The perception that crime there is worse than (or even as bad as) other parts of town.
B. Making sure the 3rd Street Bars have enough police and security.

If you're going to the Figge, the RME, one of the banks, the Adler, the River Center, Bucktown, one of the 2nd Street businesses, etc you have VERY LITTLE to worry about regarding crime. Less than many other parts of town, in fact. If you're going to hang out at 3rd and Western, you may have problems.

I'm not saying this west-side-of-downtown crime isn't a problem. For example, the Y is right in the middle of it, and we'd all like to see downtown's success spread to the west also. I'm just saying its not like downtown as a whole is filled with crime. Anti-downtown folks just love to repeat their lie about widespread downtown crime so people will eventually start believing it.

 
At 1/18/2008 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree QCI and I am the poster previously. What I refer to is the central city in general which includes the downtown. We have violence crime SOLO still and that needs to be ENDED. Yes - ENDED. The violence will stop if you fail to welcome criminals to Davenport. Meaning - take away the places they live and they will pass on by. Make life miserable for the thugs and the word will get out. We are too small of a town to have so much violent and gang crime. This is getting worse.Part of the problem is the RCF and 1/2 way house and the crazy amount of services we offer to help low income and homeless people. We attract dependance and poverty here.

 
At 1/18/2008 7:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Missed knowing about the 3rd ward meeting. Anyone know how the alderman got the word out?

 
At 1/18/2008 7:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
� Sunday Viewing Conundrum � Barrett Jackson or Packers ?

January 18, 2008 5:57 PM

 
At 1/18/2008 8:04 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

7:58, what does that Council Update quote have to do with anything? Do you have a point? or a question?

 
At 1/18/2008 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got done watching a 30 minute segment on WQPT about the QC to Chicago rail proposal, which I think would be a great thing to see happen.

For those who want to add their name to the list of spporters, go to...

www.qcrail.com

... you'll easily see where to click in order get your name on the list. My name has been submitted. This is a great idea that'll benefit the entire QC region.

 
At 1/18/2008 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:35.

I think it's going to take a little more than just code enforcement to clean things up. Also remember we still have three of the alderman that caused the housing problems with rent to own and the backing landlord special interest.

 
At 1/19/2008 10:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. It is unfortunate. Things don't look too good for our SOLO area with this council really. As you say - the 3 that support and are influenced by Lubell, and the rest who have not a clue the severity of the situation and have not a clue of a real solution. None have the drive and will to do something long lasting about our bad rental housing and its impact on our city.

 
At 1/20/2008 10:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not much of a shopper in general, but I can honestly say that if there were a variety of good shopping options downtown, I would go there to shop instead of out to the nightmare that is Elmore Avenue, particularly during the holidays. I virtually never go to Northpark anymore. It would be nice to be able to walk along two or three blocks to several different stores instead of having to get back into your car and drive from one place to the next. Add in several nice cafes or restaurants and it would make it even better. I feel like the only reason to go downtown now is to drink and party. Maybe I'm wrong.

 
At 1/20/2008 11:41 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Don't forget buying model railroad supplies, used books, and going to an excellent Italian restaur... oh wait.

Anyway, used books and trains, and well... paying parking tickets?

I definitely agree that downtown needs more retail. And while you're apparently willing to park, (including paying for it?)rather than deal with suburbia, I'd like to see some stores down there that aren't available anywhere else in the QC. Something to convince people to go down there who might otherwise bitch about paying to park.

 
At 1/21/2008 9:07 AM, Anonymous puzzler said...

I work in Downtown Rock Island. I walk to lunch (well maybe not today), to my tailor, the dry cleaners, browse the art galleries and the few retail offerings, but I am not the norm. There is a market for the type of shops that downtowns attract - look at Le Claire. The difference between RI/DAV and Le Claire is the perception that Downtown Rock Island and Downtown Davenport are unsafe. I'm not going to be in either Downtown at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning. It's not that I would be fearful; I can't stay up that late anymore. But that bar-closing-time reputation carries over to noon on Wednesday. Those of us who live or work here know better. How do we get beyond this perception?

 
At 1/22/2008 10:31 AM, Anonymous coltrane said...

Puzzler makes an excellent point - This notion of people fearing downtown in the middle of the day is totally absurd, but people can't seem to shake it. Hell, it's mostly safe even at 1AM, but that's even harder to convince people.

 
At 1/22/2008 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree somewhat. I don't fear being downtown much at all, but I am a solo resident. However, there are some really creepy characters who are unpredictable. Who are concerning. I can totally see how people would want to avoid them. I agree that there is bad image problem that isn't true sort of, but there are a lot of homeless people wandering all over the alleys and streets downtown. It seems like there are too many for our city size.

It is one thing to say that it isn't dangerous, but another to say it isn't concerning downtown. Because it is. If you don't live there, you don't see it in the same way. We want people to come downtown, so let's deal with why people don't want to come there. It isn't enough to say that there only a percieved problem when there is a real problem. We have too many druggies and prostitutes and dirty homeless guys down there. It could have soemthing to do with being the handout capital of the QCA. Why doesn't anyone get it?

 
At 1/23/2008 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the passenger rail idea being pushed right now. I think it will be a economic boom for us, and an safe & economic way to travel. (and fun)
I am surprised that Blogo is supportive, since he flies home every night to his castle on the North side of Chicago every night at tax payer expense.
So much for the ones before him thinking it was an honor to ly their head every night at the Gov's Mansion in Springfield.

 
At 1/23/2008 4:28 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

3:46, living downtown for 2+ years I really have to dispute this "homeless guy on every corner" scenario. Sure, you might see one once in a while, but there are very few cities of 100k that don't have some homeless downtown. I was only panhandled once while living downtown, and I've been panhandled one other time when I wasn't living downtown. Twice, ever.

 

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