Friday, July 31, 2009

Downtown Davenport Tidbits

Construction continues on the new version of 605 Main. I'm working on a post about the city council's fear of halfway houses, but that's for another day. I wish that someone had taken a survey 5 years ago to see how many Davenport folks even know what was in this building...

If you're interested in buying your very own downtown building, the former bank, former Social Security building at 131 W. 3rd seems to be going up for auction on August 12th. Here's the auction ad from the QCTimes. Bidding starts at $350,000 for one of the uglier buildings in one of the better locations of downtown Davenport.

I have it from a pretty good source that the former gas station/former burger joint at 4th and Iowa will be a Crescent Cleaners. This fits right in to the Crescent Warehouse District, and also provides the kind of services that downtown residents should have walking-distance access to. I hope it does well.

The Forrest Block building at 4th and Brady got a new "renovations coming soon" sign on it in time for the Bix. The sign lists the website as seems to be the website for all of Restoration St. Louis's properties in the STL area, so I guess will be the website for their Davenport area properties. It does makes sense that "Iowa's front door" would be part of "Iowa's Front Porch." They're still talking a Spring 2010 opening for the Forrest Block building, so they must be working hard on it. I'm looking forward to being able to walk through luxury apartments where there's been nothing but blight for the majority of my lifetime.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Something you don't see every day

After tonight's River Bandits game a helicopter dropped candy and possibly marshmallows onto the field at Modern Woodmen Park. Hundreds of kids were out there picking it up, and getting additional sweets dumped on them from additional helicopter passes. The new ownership of the River Bandits certainly has a good imagination for new events. I get the feeling that almost nothing is off the table at their brainstorming sessions. Here are some videos of the event taken from the Centennial Bridge.

The first pass

The second pass

The third pass

Yet another drop

A closeup of the folks dumping the candy

An assortment of Bix 2009 images

It ended up being a great morning for the race, despite some crazy weather the night before. I watched the start and finish of the race downtown. Here are some of the pictures.

The crowd, and the leaders making their way up the Brady Street hill.

Here's a movie I took showing the crowd of runners and walkers waiting to start the race.

The first person across the finish line, Ben Lloyd, as part of the Rhythm City "Race for the Jackpot." He was only given a .9 mile head start, so that's pretty impressive. The image on the right shows the preparations underway at the finish line before anyone got there.

The winner, Meb Keflezighi, running down 3rd street.

The DavenportOne Street Fest, back on Friday night before the storm hit. I'm glad I wasn't down there at 9:30.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bix Weekend Open Thread

Its the biggest weekend in the QC calendar, and it looks like the weather will cooperate. (Update: OK, not so much on the cooperative weather)I plan on getting some good food, watching a good race, and listening to some good music. I hope all of you have a great time as well. These are the kind of events that set Davenport apart, so enjoy them!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Davenport Political Sign Ordinance

This was requested in a previous thread:

From the Davenport City Code, which can be found here.

17.45.050 Temporary signs.
B. 3. Signs may be erected pertaining to the candidacy of federal, state and local elected officials; measures appearing on the ballot of any national, state or local election or caucus; or issues of individual or community concern not exceeding a total of thirty-two square feet and a maximum height of six feet in all zoning districts. Election or caucus signs may be erected not more than forty-five days preceding the election and must be removed within seven days after the election or caucus. Political signs shall be set back a minimum of five feet from any property line. (Emphasis added)

Edit: Also, in case anyone was wondering, the Davenport Primary Election takes place on October 6th.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Where in the QC is this #24
(Guest Contributor Edition)

For something a little different this week, I have a Where in the QC is this? image that was supplied by a reader. So, where was this taken?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

First Event of the 2009 City Election Season
Robby Ortiz Meet and Greet

I got this in my email:

We anted to make you aware of a "Meet & Greet" event that Alderman At-Large candidate Robby Ortiz is having on Saturday August, 8th. Everyone is welcome to stop by Phil & Larry's Saloon at 4811 N. Brady Street between the hours of 4 and 10 P.M. to get Robby's take on the issues facing Davenport residents.
Free entry and the event will be upstairs.

Friends to Elect Robby Ortiz

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bettendorf Train Derailment

Bettendorf train derailment closes downtown crossings -QCTimes

NTSB taking over investigation of Bettendorf train derailment; little information available -QCOnline

I took a drive this morning past the scene of the derailment, and it doesn't look good. There might be more to this than the media seems to know, because every command center vehicle in Scott County seems to be set up down there. I didn't see Davenport's HazMat semi, but I'd be surprised if its not down there somewhere. The articles are vague about the condition of the crew, but a big blue tarp blocking an area from view is never a good sign at an accident scene. Hopefully I'm wrong and everyone is ok.

Update: Unfortunately, both crew members were indeed killed in the crash. Hopefully this wasn't something caused by vandals messing with the rail switches.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Morning Assortment

The Forrest Block building renovation is underway! Dumpsters have been dropped off along 4th street and are being filled. The project has already gotten as far as the last "redevelopers" took it. I suspect we'll start to see a visible difference soon.

Anti-downtown activist Mark Nelson wrote a letter to the editor pushing the usual Libertarian line. Any restrictions on private property violate the 5th Amendment! Oh no! Toss out the zoning laws, building codes, and neighborhood associations. Bring on the shoddily constructed strip clubs in residential neighborhoods! Or... apparently SOME government rules on what people can do with their property are ok...?
If as many people in Scott County bought into their platform as they think do, maybe their candidate would have gotten more than 00.23% of the votes in the 2008 Presidential election.

Love Your Farmer's Market Update:
Davenport's Freight House Farmer's market now has 214 votes and is in 29th place nationwide. Considering that Davenport is about the 267th biggest city in the US, 29th place ain't half bad. Lets see if we can climb higher yet. If you haven't voted yet, do it here.

I was in Cedar Rapids Wednesday for a few hours, and saw just a fraction of the damage that is still evident throughout the city from last year's floods. I didn't have time to take pictures, but DMRyan, over at AbsoluteDSM, got a whole bunch earlier this month. Their downtown seems to be on the road to recovery, but their version of SoLo makes our SoLo look like Beverly Hills.

And finally, a rare bit of negativity from QCI, or more of a Wundram-esque call for action. By all accounts, the Freight House complex seems to be thriving. Even some nights during the week it appears to be hopping, and I've heard its hard to get a seat for dueling pianos. With all this success, would it be too much to ask for them to keep their neon lights and all the letters in their exterior signs lit at the same time?? Perceptions and first impressions matter, and burned out lights don't make good ones.

...and I'll leave the whole "Bettendorf is too good for tattoo parlors" thing for another day.

Monday, July 06, 2009


Congratulations to Davenport on reaching 100,000 residents again for the first time since the 1980's. Despite the vocal minority of naysayers, this city is growing again. I've edited the graph I made back in 2007 to reflect 2007 and 2008's estimated population numbers. I'm not sure what happened last in 2007, but aside from that one outlier year we've had excellent growth since 2003.

People from around the Midwest and hopefully around the country are discovering that we have a great mix of amenities, quality of life, history, a relatively healthy economy and low housing prices. We have things that cities larger than us envy. How many metro areas our size have a PGA tour stop, or a nationally recognized water ski troupe, or an art museum designed by a world-famous architect? How many metro areas our size have all of those things and more? While also being in the most affordable 10% (or 1%?) on housing costs? I'd suspect not very many.

Our sustainable growth should make us more attractive to additional residents, businesses, and event planners. If the State of Illinois can every function like like grown ups, we will have rail service to Chicago and a beautiful riverfront university. These 2 pieces can help turn the tide of the Iowa side population growth being offset by stagnant or declining Illinois QC populations. Davenport NOW may entice folks who would otherwise consider TIF-happy LeClaire, and Prairie Heights will become increasingly attractive the more it fills in, and as gas prices climb again. The west side sewer tunnel will open up the west side to large scale businesses and industries that have passed Davenport up in the past. The Blackhawk and Forrest Block projects downtown will hopefully show the amount of pent-up demand for market-rate downtown residential to timid banks and developers. Centennial, Credit Island, Sunderbruch, and Prairie Heights parks will continue to add recreational options to all corners of the city.

All of this sounds pretty good, but a lot of people only want to focus on Pachino Hill, potholes, or speed cameras. I would say the graph above shows that those people's negative outlook is being overshadowed by Davenport's positive growth. Let's keep it that way.