Old News: River Gulf, Blackhawk, Farmers Market
There were a few things I wanted to say about some news that happened over the last few weeks, so here goes:
River Gulf says latest extension will be the last -QCTimes
This debate definitely has two sides. On one hand, the River Gulf operation is certainly an eyesore, and like many of the late Bernie Goldstein's operations, it seems to enjoy screwing over the city of Davenport. The city owns the land, yet the property rights folks aren't coming out in droves to argue with people saying the city has no business not renewing their lease! Its almost like they only believe in that stuff when it suits them...
Anyway, on the other side you have the fact that Davenport only developed in the first place because of riverfront industry. I actually wrote a letter to the editor years ago defending the idea of industry on the riverfront unless Davenport had a better use in mind. The annoying harping by the biased QCTimes isn't helping either. The thing I find most humorous about the QCTimes complaining, is that I can imagine a situation where 10 years down the line their building is the ugliest thing within 10 blocks and all the new downtown residents start asking why they need this newspaper warehouse taking up prime land so near the riverfront.
So now it seems that Davenport officials actually are trying to redevelop the east fringe of downtown, so there's a little more reason for River Gulf to get the boot. The Levee Commission was picked by our elected officials to make these kinds of decisions, and if they do anything too crazy, those that appointed them will not be reelected. River Gulf has been anything but honorable or cooperative in this entire process, so I've lost a lot of sympathy for their plight. I just hope that come next spring they don't trot out another tired reason that their move is behind schedule (spring floods, anyone?) and try to extend their lease yet again.
Davenport Club returns — sort of -QCTimes
I was very happy to read this article. Everything I had been reading about the Blackhawk restoration made it sound like the top floor would be used for apartments. I was hoping it could still be some kind of restaurant, and now it sounds like that will be the case after all. Just like many older people have memories of the Davenport Club, I have memories of my Senior Prom dinner at High Notes, which was the later, public incarnation of the Davenport Club. Even though a lot of the view is blocked by the MidAmerican Building, I'm still glad that this neat space will be a public space rather than apartments. I would hope that they'll keep the glass elevator as well. This project is going to be a huge thing for downtown Davenport.
Farmer's market request space on riverfront -QCTimes
This one is pretty funny. The childish folks that run the Mall Parking Lot Farmer's Market want to come back to the riverfront. They refused to even be adjacent to the Freight House Farmer's Market because they don't follow the same rules about where vendors can get their food. So they moved to the mall, which is pretty much the exact opposite entity from a Farmer's Market in the first place. While the Freight House Farmer's Market was more successful than ever this summer, the Mall Parking Lot Market... wasn't.
I would compare this a bunch of kids playing basketball. Three of the kids decide they don't like the rules being used, so they storm off to play X-Box instead. They look out the window and see that the game they've left looks fun, and has lots of spectators now. They head out to play again, but instead of owning up to their mistake and asking to rejoin the game, they start a game of 2-on-1 on the next court over, which everyone ignores. The folks who were too snobby to even be near the Freight House folks need to swallow their pride, and merge with the Freight House Farmer's Market. Downtown and the riverfront doesn't need a 2nd farmer's market causing the same parking traffic-vs-pedestrian problems that started all of these changes in the first place.