Here's my top 5 wishes for the Quad Cities from last January's post, "QCI's 2008 Wishlist." I'm reviewing last year's list before I post my 2009 wishlist. I've also written whether or not I think we've achieved these goals.
#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!
FAILED. Instead of Illinois politics being the laughing stock of the Midwest, now they're known worldwide. And we still have no WIU, no Amtrak connection, plus closed parks and historic sites!
#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.
Somewhat Failed. The Blackhawk renovation probably qualifies as a really big project for downtown, but it hasn't really gotten started yet. Instead there have been several medium-sized projects this year, such as the Salvation Army building's transformation, the Freight House, etc.
#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.
FAILED. We still have no public announced plans, and the economy isn't making any large investment in a casino likely. The riverfront is still marred by the parking lots and ugly, "local-oriented" casino. IOC needs to go, but I haven't heard anything from the council about it lately.
#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.
Succeeded! The hotel is torn down, the former movie theater is slated to become a religious center, and Tri-City and other contractors are going to be building new offices out there. Finally. When 65th/67th Street is connected and Menards gets around to building their new location, this will be a completely new intersection and a better entrance to Davenport.
#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.
Unknown? I'm not sure how many opinions about Davenport have been changed this year. We need a CNN special on how we weathered the floods and are completely back to normal.
1 out of 5? I hope we do better on my 2009 list...