Thursday, January 31, 2008

Quad City Photo Thread Update

I've posted my Quad City photo collection that I posted about last week to a few more forums and message boards. I'm done now, as I don't want to just spam the internet with QC images. Well... I'd like to, but I won't.

Here's the final list of places I've posted it. Each of these links goes directly to the thread I posted. Scroll past the images for the differing reactions, which are what I find interesting.

SkyscraperCity.com Forums -just posted this one this morning

SkyscraperPage.com Forums

City-Data.com's Iowa Forums -City-Data used to be a site of frequent QC-bashing

City-Data.com's Illinois Forums

CalgaryPuck.com's Forums -Letting the Calgary Flames fans know where their farm team is

AbsoluteDSM's Forums -not as much interest here as I'd have expected

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Blackhawk Open Thread

IOC to turn over Blackhawk;
City, IOC still negotiating casino site
-QCTimes

Good news! Those of you who attended the meeting at the River Center where Restoration St. Louis presented their portfolio and some of their plans for the Blackhawk know how big of a deal this could be for downtown Davenport. I'm happy that IOC is at least moving out of the way of this potential progress.

Who knows, maybe my indoor waterpark/casino/hotel idea is still on the table?

Other than that, discuss whatever's happening in your neck of the QC.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

5th Street: 99 Years Later

This first image is from a 1908 postcard, showing the corner of 5th and Iowa. The building on the left is still there today. Even though its labeled Sieg Iron Company, the buildings in the foreground almost look like a lumber yard. This image was taken in 2007 from the roof of the Crescent Lofts. The building that remains from the 1908 image is now part of Crescent Electric. The house at 5th and Pershing is easily seen in the newer image, but also barely visible in the postcard.
Also, I'd like to welcome any new visitors to the blog today, and thank Barb Ickes and the QCTimes for their coverage.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Market at the Freight House

Holy cow, its cold out there! But, in other news...

So, to recap: The first Saturday of February, March, and April the Davenport Levee Improvement Commission will host local vendors at the west end of the Freight House from 10AM to 3PM. Sounds like a great event.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sugar: Some fears confirmed

Sundance 'Sugar' High -LA Times blog
"Soto plays the title character, a 20-year-old athlete raised in relative poverty to be a pro ball player. His family's entire future rests on his success. He's recruited to play for a Kansas City farm team, but his overwhelming excitement is soon muted when he finds himself far from home in all-white Bridgetown, Iowa, with no English skills and a naivete about U.S. culture."

It sounds like it won't portray Iowa in a very good manner. However, at least Davenport has been changed to "Bridgetown," the world's least original name.


To be fair, maybe it turns out that the "all-white" town isn't so bad (or so white?) after all. If not, however, I think its kind of screwed up for the filmmakers to accept Iowa tax incentives and then turn around a make a film that confirms false stereotypes about Iowans being racist hicks. Its bad enough that the mainstream media acted shocked that "white" Iowa could choose a black presidential nominee; the last thing we need is a movie showing is in a negative light.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Selling the Quad Cities

Q-C Visitors Bureau earns state grant -QCTimes
The State of Iowa gave the QC CVB 5 grand towards a $10k advertising campaign in Chicago. I doubt $10,000 buys all that much time on WGN radio, but at least its something.

Lately I've been in the mood to do something proactive to showcase the area. That was one of my reasons for yesterday's post. In light of the CVB's out-of-state (kind of) advertising, I decided to engage in a bit of free advertising for the Quad Cities on the internet.

SkyScraperPage.com is a website for "skyscraper and urbanism enthusiasts." One of the main features of their site is the forum section, which has thousands of posts per day. They have a section devoted entirely to photo threads of various cities around the world, so I posted this thread of Quad Cities images. As you can see, so far people seem impressed.

The CalgaryPuck Forum is a message board website for Calgary Flames fans. I started reading them when the QC Flames were first announced because it was interesting to see Canadians reaction to their farm team moving from Omaha to a place many of them had never heard of. Quite a few QC fans participate on the forum, providing Calgary fans a look into their prospects. The site also has an Off Topic section, so I posted the same thing there that I posted on SkyscraperPage. It also got good reactions from the Calgary folks. Here's that thread.

As of 7:40AM, 200 people have read the post on SkyScraperPage, and 214 have read the post on CalgaryPuck. Keep in mind that these have barely been up for 12 hours at this point. If even 1 or 2 of these people decide to stop in and check out the QCs as they drive by on I-80 sometime, I figure it was worth the time I spent choosing images from my collection and uploading them. There are a couple of other sites I'm considering posting this to; I'll mention them if I do. I know I'm not the only one who enjoys seeing out-of-towners' impressions of the Quad Cities.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

QC things we should be proud to have

According to this map on Forbes.com, the Quad City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is the 131st largest metro area in the United States. This is as of 2005. I couldn't find our world ranking, but the 400th largest metro area in the world was still over 1 million, so its safe to say we're probably not in the top 500.

So we're the 131st biggest community in the US. Pretty lowly, eh? Logically, we should only have amenities and events that over 100 other cities also have.

Lets look at some things that we have in the Quad Cities.

Bix7. An annual 7 mile road race through the streets of Davenport. According to this website, in 2006 it was the 77th largest timed race in the world, and the 25th largest timed race in America. Both of those figures are (unfortunately for our ranking) only counting people who finish the 7 mile course.
25th largest in the US, 77th largest in the world.

AHL Hockey. There are 30 NHL teams in the only league higher than the AHL. The AHL has 29 teams, with cities such as Milwaukee, Portland, and San Antonio having franchises in the same league as the Quad City Flames.
1 of 59 hockey teams in the top 2 leagues in North America

Gilda's Club. "A community meeting place for people living with cancer, their families and friends," founded by a few people including Gene Wilder, in memory of Gilda Radner.
1 of 22 in the world.

TPC at Deere Run. Tournament Players Club is a chain of American public and private golf clubs operated by the PGA Tour.
1 of 28 in the world.

John Deere Classic. A PGA Tour event held every year in July at the previously mentioned TPC at Deere Run.
1 of 49 tournaments in 2008.

Quad City Airshow -Each year, the show is capped by a performance by either the USAF Thunderbirds or the USN Blue Angels, and once, both. In 2008, the Blue Angels are scheduled to appear 37 times, including simple Fly-Bys. The Thunderbirds are scheduled to appear 39 times.
1 of 76 total Flight Demonstration Team events

Other impressive things:

Da Vinci Exhibit currently at the Putnam.
Chicago and Seattle are the only US cities to have this exhibit before us; Houston's next on the tour.

Coexistence exhibit that was here this past Fall.
Another exhibit where we were one of very few US stops during a world tour. Looking at list of hosts shows the QCs alongside cities such as Berlin, San Paulo, St. Petersburg, and Jerusalem.

WiMax.
An up-and-coming wireless internet technology. QCOnline's ongoing project will make us one of the first areas in the US with WiMax coverage.

Wilco and other tours.
Davenport was one of only a dozen or so stops during the US leg of Wilco's world tour. Reading the tour lists of many shows that come to the Adler and iWireless Center show the QC stop being one of the rare communities under a million people to host the show or concert.

And many more! Feel free to suggest your own additions to this list, because I know there are others out there. When people say there's nothing to do in the Quad Cities, they aren't looking hard enough. When our events and amenities put us in a class with metros several times our size, I suggest that's a sure sign of a community with a good quality of life.

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.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Slow Demolition

May 31st, 2007
January 15, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Article Assortment + Image


Here are some QCTimes stories that interested me over the last few days:

Freight House offers four fun venues in one -QCTimes
Nothing but good news here. I can't wait to check it out, and hopefully we'll see the north side fixed up as well so the future residents of the RiverWalk Lofts will have a better view across the street.

Bettendorf: Joevan site will become new retail center -QCTimes
I don't know if this is the final plan, but if this PDF that a QCT commenter posted is accurate, there's entirely too much parking in this plan. Nothing walkable or non-strip mall about this. Hopefully we'll at least get a PF Changs out of it. See my previous post about lifestyle centers.

Alderman Ambrose IS online; Just 1 alderman remains off e-mail -QCT
Way to research QCTimes. Guess they didn't notice that Barnhill has both a website and email.

Rhythm City diner replaced with 'grab-and-go' food shop -QCT
More screwing of Davenport by IOC. The Rock Around the Click Diner used to be a great little place downtown to get a cheap diner-style meal. Then they ditched the wait staff and made you go get your food from the cook. Now they've just ditched the diner entirely. Who cares, thinks IOC, its just Davenport...

Also, don't forget to check out the Quad Cities promotional video here, at the Bi-State Regional Commission website.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Another new Alderman blog

Sixth Ward Alderman Jeff Justin has opened his new blog, which can be found at davenportsixthward.blogspot.com. Aside from his opening post, he has also posted his viewpoints on the recent schedule changes. A big welcome to the blog world for another Alderman interested in interacting with his constituents in a new way. I've added the link over on the right.

This makes 4 Aldermen from the current crop (Hamerlinck, Frink, Brown, Justin) who have blogs so far. Alderman Lynn has a website and a newsletter, and I know most of the other Aldermen are computer-literate. Imagine a time when we have 11 blogs to correspond to our 11 elected officials. Each of them could explain their stances on various issues without anyone making 10 minute speeches at meetings justifying their vote. Folks, if your Alderman doesn't have a web presence at this time, please encourage them to start a blog. Even if they just post once a month or so, it would be a place that allows input and conceivably a back-and-forth discourse about the issues.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Cutting public involvement or common sense?

First act of Davenport aldermen does away with Monday, Thursday committee meetings -QCTimes

I'm sure many of you believe that this, and the proposal to not televise public comment, are all part of the usual vast conspiracy to screw Davenport. Personally, I'm in favor of making changes to cause Davenport city council meetings to not be difficult to watch, as I believe they are now. If you're addressing the council, why do you need to be on TV? Get on Channel 19 and tell the world your issues with the council, water fluoridation, or Native American burial lands. Save council meetings for doing the business of the city.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Alderman Nathan Brown opens his blog

Alderman Brown emailed me to pass along a link to his new blog, which is located at davenportfirstward.blogspot.com. Weird how the previous Alderman never needed that, eh? Anyway, this makes at least 3 of the 11 city elected officials who have blogs. More ways to get in touch and be gotten in touch with can't be a bad thing. I've added a link over with the others.

Nathan also announced that his first First Ward meeting will be Saturday Jan. 12th, at 10:00 am in the Roosevelt Community Center. Apparently there will also be a presentation on various programs available at the public libraries. The 1st Ward definitely looks like its off to a good start.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make the meeting/open house last night, so any of you who were there, feel free to post your review of the evening.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

First 08 Open Thread

I know I've been lax on posts lately, but as the holidays wind down I hope to get back in the blogging spirit. For today though, just an open discussion thread.

Tonight, don't forget the swearing in of the new council, and open house at City Hall. Go meet these new folks before you begin bashing them online. The meeting starts at 7pm.

I will probably try to make it to the meeting/open house, but it might not happen.

And finally, only 357 days until Christmas!