Thursday, May 29, 2008

A couple meetings tonight

The future of Credit Island and Neighborhood Infill Standards. Two important subjects and unfortunately I won't be able to make either of them. If any of you readers attend, feel free to offer your review in the comments.

From the city website:

Neighborhood Infill Design Standards
– Public Informational Meeting

Infill development refers to new construction of residential buildings in established neighborhoods. In response to community concerns about the quality and design compatibility of infill development in Davenport, the Staff of the Community and Economic Development Department has been researching alternatives on addressing the issue.

Staff has developed a set of standards and reviewed them with the City Council. Prior to formal consideration, Council has requested staff review the final draft of the standards at a public meeting. The meeting will be held:

Thursday, May 29, 2008
5:30 p.m.
City of Davenport Design Center
102 East Second Street (Across from the Radisson)

If attendees have photographs of infill development in their neighborhood, both good and bad, please bring them to the meeting. Everyone is invited!

Credit Island Master Plan
– Public Informational Meeting

Mayor Bill Gluba, First Ward Alderman Nathan Brown and Aldermen-at-Large Ian Frink and Gene Meeker remind the public of an informational meeting to receive input on how Credit Island can best serve the public. The purpose of this meeting is to find a cross section of citizens who would be interested in helping the City develop a master plan for Credit Island Park. City leaders are encouraging people with an interest in conservation and recreation to attend so
a task can be formed from this nucleus of people interested in the island. Many ideas have been expressed for the better utilization of Credit Island, including recreational vehicle camping, fishing spots, boat docking, wildlife and bird sanctuary, golf and driving range, rugby, baseball and soccer fields. The City hopes that both individuals and groups that frequent the park will come and offer to serve on this task force. The informational meeting will be held:

Thursday, May 29, 2008
7 PM
Credit Island Pavilion
2200 West River Drive

Credit Island will be open to the public only for this special meeting. Until cleanup is complete, the park is off limits to the general public.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Where in the QC is this #19

In bringing back this long-missing contest, I'm doing a couple things differently. However, I'm not going to say what they are just yet.

Where in the QC is this?

The Answer:

Guess #1 at 9:00AM was the correct one. Here's a wider angle:
Rather than combine cabs, as someone else guessed, I believe these are rows of hundreds of Compact Excavators like this one. In the wider angle you can also see a couple dozen road graders, and generally millions of dollars in equipment.

This location is actually outside of the area that I defined for my Where in the QC is this? series, and obviously it is an overhead shot, but the correct answer was still guessed in less than 2 hours. Impressive.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Skatepark-area Construction Images

The entire skatepark is open again. According to an early morning skater, the deep bowl reopened sometime last week.

Construction is coming along on the pavilion, despite the 2 week flood delay. I wonder if the basketball courts will be popular, considering the amount of neighborhood courts around the city. If they are even a fraction as well-received as the skatepark, the concession business should be very profitable. I'm sure the gas station across the street will miss out on some business, but it will sure be safer to not have kids running back and forth across River Drive.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesday morning assortment

Pleasure Pools buys part of former Buysee site -QCTimes
Good news for the Brady Street corridor. The article mentions that not only the north side of the former dealership is being redeveloped, but that the south side should be sold soon also. Despite the "evil" one ways, the area between Brady and Welcome Way from Kimberly to 53rd has always seemed like a very accessible location to me.

R.I. to hold Armory Park hearing today -QCOnline
Rock Island residents, make sure to stop in and check out the future plans for your riverfront. If you don't participate now, don't be surprised when you don't like what gets built later.

Negativity Epidemic
As I haven't noticed people using the phrase "bridge to nowhere" much lately, I'm not going to start using the term "againster" again, but there sure has been a lot of negativity lately.
The city finally paints the rusting Freight House boxcar -people complain about the color!
The city handles a flood quite well -people just make up nonexistant problems like Figge artwork being at risk
Davenport Police catch people breaking the law -people complain that they shouldn't waste time enforcing seat belt laws, despite the fact that other criminals were caught because of it.
The city privatizes and shrinks Fejervary Zoo -the QCTimes complains, despite their own editorials pushing for the closure of the zoo while providing no guidance on what to do instead.

Sometimes I think a few of these people would react to a 20-pound gold bar falling into their front yard by complaining about the dent it left in their lawn.

Drunken Monkey needs to be shut down
I'll follow my complaint about complaining with a complaint of my own. The city should be investigating the fact that one bar, The Drunken Monkey on Rockingham, requires a police response on nearly a nightly basis. It has to be the worst bar in town at this point, and is clearly not helping the surrounding neighborhood. It shouldn't be the DPD's job to provide bar security.

Construction continues
In more positive news, the renovation of the former Salvation Army building is coming right along. Having a newly vibrant Freight House combined with new residents should really change that area of River Drive for the better.

City might pull plug on Credit Island golf -QCTimes
I don't think this one's a good idea. The city's golf courses are one of the few services that actually pay for themselves, and now we have to get rid of one because it costs $70,000 to clean up every 5-7 years? Duck Creek golf course spent something like $40,000 to build a single new green a few years ago. I'll be curious to see what kind of plan this committee can come up with on what to do down there.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lookin' good

Only 5 months in, and the new council has already worked together more on something than the previous one ever did. As a train buff, I have a soft spot for this boxcar, and its been though watching it become a rusty mess over the years. It looks great now, so a big thanks to our Aldermen.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Our underappreciated police

1 wounded in Davenport shooting -QCTimes

I listened to this whole incident on the police radio, and it was very tense. I caught the end of the story on KWQC, which had almost more wrong than right, and the QCTimes article at this point is definitely lacking information as well.

The call started with an officer calling out an emergency, saying that shots had been fired at her location (14th and Pershing), and she was chasing the involved car eastbound. With Davenport's horribly restrictive rules on pursuits, its rare enough just to hear that someone was actually chased. Most other units in the city headed for the area, and at least one had joined up with the original officer when the suspects bailed out of the car on Oneida. I believe the first of the 3 occupants was caught right away. Somewhere around this time a gunshot victim was reported back at the scene of the original shooting.

The cops then set up a perimeter near Bridge, Esplanade, Kirkwood, and 12th, broke out the "urban rifles" or AR-15 assault rifles, and began tracking down the shooters. They found one suspect in a yard, and then I believe caught another guy in an area house. Hopefully they all get convicted of attempted murder and are sent away for a couple decades. It would certainly make Davenport safer to have these folks off the streets.

Last night's incident was an extremely dangerous situation, yet the DPD handled it perfectly and professionally, with no casualties after the original shooting. With all the public respect for soldiers in the military, I've never understood why people don't have this same respect for law enforcement officers that are frequently put in what can only be described as combat situations themselves. I also wish that the administration would respect the police enough to let individual officers decide when the situation warrants a pursuit, and when its too dangerous. These same suspects may very well have run from police before, and been allowed to get away and commit additional crimes because it would be "too dangerous to chase them." Sometimes its too dangerous to let criminals get away.

Thanks to the officers who won a round last night in the fight against crime in Davenport.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Open Thread, with a bonus html lesson

*Posting will be sparse this week as I deal with some family issues. Consider this an open thread, with a bonus html lesson.*

I've noticed a decent amount of people try to post web addresses in the comments on this and other local blogs. Frequently the addresses are too long to fit in the box, and things get all messy.

Today I'll show you loyal readers a tiny piece of web language (html) that will solve this problem. In this case, the address that I want to link to is, and I want the link to say Google.
I would need to type the following into the comments box:

<a href="">Google</a>

This would then appear as:


Simply replace the with whatever web address you want to link to, and replace Google with the name of the website, or whatever text you want to use for the link. You always need the <a href=" before the web address, and another "> after it, followed by the text you want to use, and then end with the </a>

Here's another, more useful example, using a QCTimes article and its horribly long web address:

The code:

<a href="">Think outside of the car</a>


Think outside of the car

I know it may be confusing to those of you who aren't into this sort of thing, but if you just copy/paste and change the applicable parts, it should be relatively painless. Feel free to ask questions about this. I believe it should also work on Cruiser's blog, but your comment may have to wait for him to approve it because of the link.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Floodwall Math

This will probably be my last Flood of '08-related post, and hopefully I will return to regularly scheduled blogging.

Flood costs Davenport an estimated $735k

If Davenport were to build a permanent flood wall, I have read it would cost at least $60 million. Even though I think that was from a years-old estimate, and would thereby be too low, I'll use it anyway.

The last major flood was in 2003, 5 years ago. The 2008 flood made the top 10 floods of all time list, which goes back to at least 1868. Judging by that, we only have a flood like this or worse every 14 years or so. However, for the sake of this math I will say that we get a major flood every 3 years.

So we could spend $60,000,000 on a floodwall. Or we could spend $750,000 every three years to build a quick temporary levee and hose off some streets. $60M divided by every 3 years, divided by $750,000 would equal out to it taking 240 years for to "break even" on a floodwall. Somehow I doubt that floodwalls even last 240 years, especially without some annual maintenance. Spending money on maintaining a flood wall just means that it would take even longer to break even. If you change the numbers to a more realistic every-5-years major flood, and $65 million dollar floodwall, it would take 433 years to "pay off" the wall.

This is one situation where I'm definitely an againster. I'm against an expensive floodwall that pushes that water onto someone else, and I'm against spending 240 years worth of flood-fighting money to do it.

Here was LeClaire Park 12 days ago:

And here it is this morning:

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

And the flood goes away

I joked to a friend that I could just post the images of the river rising in reverse order instead of taking new pictures as the floodwaters recede, but that wouldn't really fool anyone.

Judging simply by the fact that this coffee cup stayed on the serving counter of the Levee Inn through the whole flood, I'd say this one wasn't as bad as '86.

The temporary berm is gone, and I'd guess River Drive is in for a cleaning today. Its already all open except for the section where the berm was, between 3rd and Brady. In the right image, we can see that the casino has resurrected their sandbag wall, and reopened. LeClaire Park doesn't look too bad, but we'll see if it recovers in time for this summer's festivals.

Credit Island hasn't gotten much attention during this flood, so it will be interesting to see how this park weathered the flood.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Freight House Farmer's Market Opens

Despite the dreary day and early time of year for produce, there was still a decent turnout at the new and improved downtown farmer's market.
The Mayor, the D1 Redcoats, and some vendors help cut the ribbon.

Hopefully it will clear up a bit today.

If you stop down, the market runs until 1PM, and as you can see its on River Drive between the Freight House and the Community Health Care parking lot, which is also where parking is provided. I was especially glad to see that the cheese curd folks had chosen the downtown market. I did drive out past the mall market, and it had a similar amount of vendors and shoppers it looked like, although much more spread out. I'm not sure how the Freight House market will be arranged when it returns to its home parking lot, but on a rainy day like today it was nice to have the booths lined up close.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A different view of the floodwaters

I went down today to Modern Woodmen Park, which was open for various festivities, and got some pictures from a different vantage point.

You can just barely see the tops of the railing sticking out of the water.

Here are a couple of pictures of the $4-8,000 walkway to the stadium. It will be interesting to see how things play out with the team and the city deciding whether the field was unplayable during these days.

Still at the stadium, you can see the temporary gates that are inserted in the gaps in the stadium wall in order to hold back the flood waters. They seem to be working well. Despite having to move 3 games, the flood protection around the stadium have saved a lot of money in cleanup and repair costs.

Freight House Farmer's Market this Saturday

Also Saturday, a bunch of whiners hanging out at the mall. Who cares.

If you want an idea of the type of petty childish junk that the people behind the previous farmer's markets are into, just check out commenter QCMike and his lame efforts to imply that the Freight House Farmer's Market is unsanitary. He also attacks the fact that they'll have live music and entertainment. He's the Karl Rove of Farmer's Markets apparently.

Here are the articles:

Freight House market opening despite flood -QCOnline

Farmer's market plans still on for riverfront

For years we've had what's become known as the Green Bean War. Two markets, one which allows semi-commercial products and one that doesn't, who refuse to cooperate. They have located on opposite sides of the driveway to the parking lot near the stadium, causing many traffic dangers. Steve Ahrens comes along and says we need to fix this. For various reasons they can't come to an agreement, so in a move straight out of 3rd grade, they take their market and leave. Except... apparently many vendors weren't too happy with their leadership, or its decision to abandon downtown for mall-town. These folks are staying near the Freight House for a new and better market, which is the only one I'll ever purchase from. A market for grown-ups, if you will.

Now the secessionists are claiming that Northpark will be a great location, and at the same time trying to pin all the blame on others. If Northpark is such a great place, why didn't they move there over the previous decades? They suggest the move will solve the traffic problem. I know the first place I think of when considering no traffic problems is Northpark and the Kimberly Road area. Locating at a farmer's market at a mall seems somewhere along the lines of locating a vegetarian restaurant in a meatpacking district. Malls and outdoor vendor-based markets are at opposite ends of the retail spectrum.

So there's my rant for today. It was inspired by QCMike.

Check out the downtown market this Saturday, and every Saturday and Wednesday for the rest of the summer. Its open 8am-1pm. This particular Saturday the market will be held on River Drive near the Freight House, due to the flooding. Park in the adjacent Community Health Care parking lot. If you make the trip out to the concrete wasteland, encourage the vendors to come back to downtown. Its the farmer's market with character.