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.