Saturday, November 28, 2009

Black and Blue Saturday? Not in the QC

While the surplus commercial materialism of "Black Friday" can be over the top at times, I've always looked at the sales as an adventure. Since I'm normally awake all night anyway its no big deal to go out at 5:30 in the morning. Sam's has their free breakfast, although they ran out way too early this year, and there are usually some good deals on DVDs and such. Target had a great deal on LED Christmas lights, but they really need to figure out a better way to get people through the checkout lanes there. The good thing is that I didn't see any fighting, yelling, or any of the other stuff you always hear about in relation to yesterday's events. People in line at Target were talking about where they found various items, which lines were fastest, and random chit chat. I wasn't out for any store openings, so maybe that's where all the trouble is. By the time we stopped by Wal Mart they were out of about everything from their ad, and the store was practically empty.

So whether I wasn't out at the right time to see it, or if there just wasn't any, I certainly didn't see any trouble between our fellow Quad Citians during the shopping madness. I haven't read much in the national news about any incidents, so hopefully people have learned to take a more relaxed attitude towards Christmas shopping. Its the only way to have a good time.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2009 Festival of Trees Parade Images

Yesterday was another beautiful day for the annual Festival of Trees Parade. We went in to the actual Festival of Trees as well, which I hadn't done in quite a while. It was kind of surreal looking at Christmas trees and decorations while a dance troupe was performing to Britney and Janet Jackson pop songs, but it was still a fun time. The only negative thing was that the MidAmerican garage parking system was not working correctly at all. When I went in to park the gates were up, so I figured it was either "$2 event parking" as you leave, or free parking. When we left the parking attendant asked what time we came in, and charged accordingly. Pretty strange, and pretty unfair to those who figured gates up meant free parking as it usually does. Oh well, one problem certainly doesn't ruin a great day and a great event. It seemed like an even larger turnout than usual.

Here's the pictures:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Saturday Morning Assortment

Lots of stuff going on today, including the Holiday Parade, Holiday Pops Concert, and the Wine-to-Water fundraiser. The Midwest Trains HO Model Railroading Club is also having an open house at their location in Bettendorf. There's plenty more going on, so check out your favorite community calendar. I should have some pictures from some of these later.

Other than all the stuff going on this weekend, there's been some stuff going on this week as well.

I got an email saying that the typo in the casino cover letter available below was only in an early draft, and was corrected before the final printing of the brochures that were handed out in Vegas. I figured this was probably the case, because the boldface type made it pretty obvious.

The former strip club on Welcome Way is suing the city for not allowing them to break the law and locate two adult businesses so close to each other. Mike Meloy, of course, is the lawyer for the plaintiff. Does he do anything else but represent people suing the city?

River Gulf Grain wants yet another extension on their riverfront lease. I'm not sure where they think they'll get any credibility, considering that they've yet to live up to a single promise or agreement they've made with the city. I'd be fine if the city just turned down their extension request, but if they're going to "work with them" (get taken advantage of by them) then I hope they at least make it cost them this time. If they're late next time, $10,000 a day doesn't seem unreasonable. After all, if the river floods next spring they'll insist they need to stay open until Fall 2010...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Images! Hilltop District Conceptual Drawings

I'm involved with the Hilltop Campus Village project, which is part of Main Street Iowa's Urban Neighborhood District program. Basically the idea is to inject new life and create more of a campustown feel in the general area between Ripley and Perry, and between 5th and Locust. As part of this process, the Iowa Department of Economic Development paid a Design Consultant to draw up some conceptual drawings of some potential facade improvements along the corridor. Here are five of them (one has two angles), and I think they all look good. Hopefully we see some real progress on this. One of the things that I like about these suggestions is that few of them would require very large expenditures, yet all of them together would make quite an impact on the Hilltop District.

As always, click on the images for a closer look.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Casino operator-attracting brochure images

Here is some of the stuff that is apparently being handed out at the gaming convention in Las Vegas in order to attract a new operator for Davenport's gaming license.

Also, the brochure and cover letter can be downloaded here and here.

All in for a new casino operator

City leaders in Las Vegas to pitch Davenport's gaming license -QCTimes

Finally some progress on the effort to boot IOC out of Davenport and get a casino operator that actually maximizes the revenue from Davenport's gaming license. That is, I believe, the official requirement for the Riverboat Development Authority, and it isn't at all happening right now. When a casino operator admits publicly that your city is their secondary operation in the metro area, that is not maximizing revenue. When a casino operator closes more features of your city's casino every year, that is not maximizing revenue. When a casino operator signs an agreement to build a new hotel, give up parking lots, and tear down an eyesore abandoned restaurant, but doesn't do any of that, that's not maximizing anything for Davenport except riverfront ugliness.

Here's hoping the city will find someone interested in investing $150M or so in exchange for the right to have people willing show up to lose their money. Its not exactly a tough business to make a profit in. Out of the 3 locations suggested in the brochure, I like either the current site of the Ground Transportation Center, or the underused green space next to the River Center on 2nd Street. The current site of the abandoned Howard Johnson motel is good too, but its too disconnected from the downtown core. Maybe a certain City Administrator will provide us with a pdf file of the brochure to peruse. Anyway, good luck to the guys down in Vegas. The Mayor's been hinting at big plans for the casino for years now, so it'd be nice to see some real action.

Tomorrow: Hilltop District Conceptual Renderings

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Morning Assortment

Just a few random tidbits today.

If you didn't notice the blurb in the QCTimes, the new Crescent Cleaners in the tiny former gas station, former burger joint building at 4th and Iowa is now open. This should provide downtown residents and employees both with a convenient downtown option for one of their day-to-day services.

The railroad embankment brush-clearing continues even outside of downtown. I'm not sure if this is a project by the railroad at this point, or still a city thing. On one hand, the volunteer trees are basically just giant weeds, but sometimes what's behind them isn't much better to look at. It does make for fewer hiding spots for homeless camps, however.

The building at Rusholme and Arlington that used to house Cottage Corner is currently being demolished to make way for, from what I've heard, more parking for St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church. This building was really in disrepair, but it seems like something different could have been done other than a parking lot. From watching some of these churches over the last year you'd think the biggest problem facing religion in America today is insufficient parking.

Work on the Harrison Hilltop Neighborhood continues. There are some conceptual renderings for a few potential facade improvements floating around. The one for the Harrison Hilltop Theatre can be found on their Facebook page, and I'm hoping to get a few more to post on the blog.

As someone pointed out in the comments on my last post, the downtown bar and grill Sippis has apparently closed for the Winter. They seemed to always have a good crowd out on the patio whenever I was downtown this summer, so I was surprised to see this. Maybe there was more market for the outdoor dining than the indoor. Either way, I hope they return in the Spring.

And here's a picture of the progress on the 7th Judicial District building between Main and Brady Streets. Looks like they got the exterior work done in time to beat the snow.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Someone extra happy about free yardwaste collection

Sorry about the lack of posts, but I've been enjoying this July weather we're having in November. Here's a house that got some serious raking done this week. I count at least 50 bags in this picture, which would cost quite a fortune to dispose of at $1.60 a bag during non-free yard waste collection weeks. Folks in Rock Island that are still complaining about free collection with free paper bags don't know how good they have it.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

2009 City of Davenport Election Numbers

Here are all the results, even for uncontested races. The percentages are of those people correctly casting votes, and the undervotes are those people who did not select a candidate for the position. The number of voters who filled out ballots for each race is listed as well. My amateur analysis of these numbers will come later.

Mayor (5724 voters)
Bill Gluba 4749 votes, 94.96%
Write-Ins 252 votes, 5.04%
Undervotes: 723

At-Large (5724 voters, 2 votes each)
Jason Gordon 3437 votes, 35.01%
Gene Meeker 3298 votes, 33.60%
Robert Ortiz 1823 votes, 18.57%
Keith Meyer 1207 votes, 12.30%
Write-Ins 51 votes, 0.52%
Undervotes: 1632

1st Ward (467 voters)
Nathan Brown 382 votes,
Write-Ins 28 votes, 6.83%
Undervotes: 57

2nd Ward (682 voters)
Bill Edmond 426 votes, 63.11%
Rick Gaghagen 248 votes, 36.74%
Write-Ins 1 vote, 0.15%
Undervotes: 7

3rd Ward
(555 voters)
Bill Boom 364 votes, 66.30%
Paul Vasquez 182 votes, 33.15%
Write-Ins 3 votes, 0.55%
Undervotes: 6

4th Ward
(642 voters)
Ray Ambrose 557 votes, 95.54%
Write-Ins 26 votes, 4.46%
Undervotes: 59

5th Ward (812 voters)
Bill Lynn 503 votes, 62.64%
Audra Cornwell 299 votes, 37.24%
Write-Ins 1 vote, 0.12%
Undervotes: 9

6th Ward (1245 voters)
Jeff Justin 1074 votes, 98.08%
Write-Ins 21 votes, 1.92%
Undervotes: 150

7th Ward (736 voters)
Barney Barnhill 578 votes, 93.38%
Write-Ins 41 votes, 6.62%
Undervotes: 117

8th Ward (585 voters)
Mike Matson 497 votes, 97.45%
Write-Ins 13 votes, 2.55%
Undervotes: 75

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Results are In

The winners of the contested races in the 2009 City of Davenport Election are:

Gene Meeker and Jason Gordon, At-Large

Bill Edmond, 2nd Ward

Bill Boom, 3rd Ward

Bill Lynn, 5th Ward

Vote Today!

If you live in Davenport, or one of the many other places with elections today, don't forget to stop by your polling place and vote. I'll be doing it in a few minutes here, so those of you who disagree with me had better show up to cancel me out!

Call this an open thread, but also if you've got predictions of who wins and who loses, bring 'em on.

One sure prediction: Gluba, Brown, Ambrose, Justin, Barnhill and Matson will still be in the council chambers next year.