Friday, November 19, 2010

City tries again on Prairie Heights commercial land

On November 2nd Davenport issued a Request for Proposals from potential developers of the commercial parcel that the city still owns on the south side of the Prairie Heights area. Many of you will recall that the city did one of these a few years ago and wasn't satisfied with the offers. At that time they chose to hold out for a better proposal.

Here's the page on the city website with the info, including a link to the actual RFP at the bottom. It seems a little less restrictive than the previous one, although not by too much. There are some restrictions that are made by an agreement with the nearby Grace Evangelical Free Church, and also this quote:
The City welcomes proposals that integrate office or residential uses into the proposed commercial development. Industrial uses, however, such as warehouses, automobile repair facilities, manufacturing or storage facilities are neither desired nor allowed within the Prairie Heights Neighborhood development.
So I'm guessing the carwash that riled up some folks over in Bettendorf a while back need not apply either. I wonder about tatoo parlors... Seriously though, this should really be prime land someday, so I do like that the city doesn't just want it to become a junky strip mall or gas station. That said, the spec building across 53rd from the site doesn't seem to be filling up all that fast. It will be interesting to see what kind of proposals come in this time.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

So I've been a little busy this year...

In addition to the typical work, family, and social life type things that put a crimp in my blogging time, I had some extra stuff to work on this summer. There's now a Mrs. QCI!
As any of you who have been involved in a wedding will know, its a lot of work! We were married on October 9th, which happened to be the day that was a record-high 88ยบ out. When planning an outdoor fall wedding in the Midwest, that was not really on our list of possible weather situations. Thanks to all of the great people who helped us on that day, everything went as smoothly as possible, and it was a great day.

After the wedding we were off to our honeymoon in Ireland. This was the first time in Europe for both of us, and while sitting on the wrong side of the car and driving on the wrong side of the road could be "exciting", it was definitely a fun trip and I highly recommend it. I could show off dozens of pictures at this point, but this blog is supposed to be about the QC, so I'll limit myself to 4 of them.

So there it is. The blog is not dead, and I hope to start posting more than once a week. That said, I doubt I will ever return to the daily posting that I did when I was living downtown and putting much of my free time into blogging. Although who knows... after a few years of unexciting (ie, professional) city councils, it appears we're gearing up for a casino battle again! The QCTimes got a month's worth of articles out of it, so I'm sure there will be more posts from me as well. I'd like to thank those of you that still check the blog, and hope we can get back to enthusiastic discussions again.

Friday, November 05, 2010

News good enough to return from the blog afterlife

Davenport to consider $75M casino plan -QCTimes

I've been busy this year, but I'll get to that in a later post. For today, we have great news on the front page of the QCTimes. Not only is someone coming in to rid us of the Isle of Capri's maltreatment, but the casino is staying downtown. I didn't expect this, considering how timid developers usually are about trying new things, but I think its great news. There are plenty of truck stop casinos in the Midwest, but not as many downtown casinos anymore. Dubuque's works, and I think ours can too. As far as the the sites mentioned, I like the WG Block location the best, although the others could work too. The Ground Transportation Center is a waste of real estate, but I'm not sure if I trust any casino to look good enough to have such a prime location.

Many of the people against this seem to be against gambling at all, but I'd say Tuesday's election has shown that Scott County residents still overwhelmingly support gambling. Its just another business folks! I know some people who are addicted to shopping at Kohls, but nobody worries about that. Fortunately, I think that much of the resistance to gambling as a legitimate form of entertainment is fading as younger generations grow up with casinos not having the same stigma they may have had for our grandparents.

I look forward to the day that Davenport's casino competes with Bettendorf and Rock Island's as an equal, rather than a forgotten stepchild.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Flood 2010 Saturday PM - Monday AM

Alternate title: We got 99 problems but the Bix ain't one.

I went out both Saturday night and this morning to take some pictures of the flood preparations. They seem to be going pretty well, and the river seems to be rising a little slower than projected, so hopefully we can come out of this one relatively unscathed. Here are a whole bunch of images from both Saturday night and this morning.
Saturday night, while thousands partied downtown at the Bix Street Fest, Public Works was busy building the usual temporary berm. This year it appears it was made easier by the new concrete median planters.

Preparations near Bechtel Park and Iowa Street.

Berm work on Saturday night, and this morning.

LeClaire Park on Saturday night, and this morning.

Union Station, looking like a fort with its surrounding berm.

Kraft had their wall across Rockingham ready Saturday night, and Rock Island had already begun installing their new removable gates in Schwiebert Park.

This area of Schwiebert Park is north of the floodwall and designed to flood, which its starting to do.

Even more gates being installed at Schwiebert Park. They're also in the midst of fixing some drainage issues around the sprayground, unrelated to the flood.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bix 2010 Images

So, it wasn't exactly one of our greatest Bix days. Between the weather issues last night, such as the smashed truck seen on the right, the terrible death of the Galesburg coach, or the general soaking of 15,000 runners and however many tens of thousands of spectators, things could have gone better. Now we have imminent flooding to deal with, which we'll survive as we generally do. As always, things could have been worse. Despite the rain, thousands of people got together for a good time in Davenport. Next year lets hope for blue skies to show off the renovated Blackhawk and Forrest Block buildings.

It looks like most of the registered runners and walkers could not be deterred by a little rain.

The men's winner, Ryan Hall, and the women's winner, Lisa Koll, each heading down 3rd Street towards the finish line.

Some of the earlier finishers. While there were fewer spectators downtown than a dry Bix, I was impressed with how many people came out to support the runners.

This is an angle you don't see too much, which is the Quick Bix runners coming down Perry Street to an early finish. I've done the 2 mile version a couple times, and its always pretty deserted spectator-wise once you turn off of the main route. It does ensure that you get to the post-race party while the good snacks are still available though, and you don't get that "Why do I do this?" feeling that you do coming back on Kirkwood...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday Morning in July

I was out and about downtown this morning, and got a few photos. The Freight House Farmer's Market was packed even more than usual, but I've found there's not a great vantage point to take pictures of its success. The Florian Keen lot was full, the Freight House lot was full, people were parking under the Centennial Bridge, and the Community Health Care lot was almost full. Clearly someone needs to build some condos or market rate apartments in that area to cash in on that kind of amenity.

Anyway, here are the images:

This new Bix mural looks great.

The new mural at 4th and Pershing. This is on the southeast corner, across from last year's mural on the northwest corner.

Hotel Blackhawk progress. I believe the 3rd level of the new addition is going to be a pool.

Forrest Block Progress! Its so nice to be able to say that, and it will be great for Bix runners to finally see progress next weekend.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Davenport City Staff responds to Wisor's comments about 1125 Jersey Ridge

CPED has reviewed the email generated by the owner of 1125 Jersey Ridge Road, John Wisor, and offers this response.

Wisor: A historical map of Davenport produced by the HPC does not show the house in a historical neighborhood. It shows it outside the border of a historical neighborhood.

Staff: Maps of this property show the property both in and out of the McClellan Heights Historic District as well as the East Davenport Historic District. The survey maps prepared by City Historian Marlys Svendsen show the property out of the District. Later maps show the property in. Most recently, the City’s Geographic Information System (GIS) shows the boundary matching the original survey boundaries drawn my Ms. Svendsen. In 2009, City Planner Ken Oestreich spoke with Ms. Svendsen and she indicated that is was likely a mistake why the property (as well as 1127 Jersey Ridge Road) were not included in either district. Map is attached.

The definitive measure of a property’s status is its listing on the National Register itself, not if it is shown on a locally produced map.

Wisor: The house was not on any historical register at the time of purchase.

Staff: According to the records of the State of Iowa Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), 1125 Jersey Ridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 1, 1984, as part of the McClellan Heights District designation. See attached.

Wisor: John Wisor did not request it be put on any such register.

Staff: True

Wisor: The HPC took it upon themselves, after a demo request was filed, to nominate the house for historical status.

Staff: The HPC followed the City Code outlined in Section 17.23.120 that requires consideration of landmarking property that is the subject of a demolition request. The HPC denied demolition (April 21, 2009), considered the landmarking and recommended approval (May 12, 2009), and the City Council, by not approving the demolition request, approved landmarking the property on June 24, 2009.

Wisor: The HPC basically took control of the property without any financial consideration.

Staff: The HPC did not take control of the property. The City Council approved landmarking the property, which requires HPC approval of exterior alterations (Certificate of Appropriateness) or demolition. The property owner has not provided any financial information regarding the demolition request. Only financial information has been obtained through public records.

Wisor: The HPC did not consider any financial restoration costs nor did they inspect the property.

Staff: No written estimates have been presented to the HPC and Commissioners have not inspected the property.

Wisor: The historical aspects of the house are disputable as is its architectural significance to the area.

Staff: The survey prepared by Marlys Svendsen, affirmed by SHPO, determined the property to be a “contributing” structure.

Wisor: The property was purchased with the intention of tearing it down and building new. The condition of the property at the time of purchase was uninhabitable with burst water pipes, rotted-out soffits, siding, and a leaking roof. The previous owners accepted an offer that was $40K less than they paid just three year prior.

Staff: Property records show the house bought by a previous owner for $145,000 on 5-22-07 and sold to Wisor Village, LLC for $105,000 on 8-9-07.

Wisor: The offer was to purchase "as is" because of the neglected, deteriorated condition of the house. John Wisor stated at the time of the first demo refusal that it was cost prohibitive to put any money into the house and he was not interested in restoring the house or converting it to rental property. John Wisor put the house up for sale after the first demo request was denied but never received any offers to purchase. An offer to purchase is a signed contract AND earnest money (very important) - not a verbal request to purchase.

Staff: Staff cannot verify these statements.

Wisor: The city Community Service Division ordered expensive repairs in order to maintain its "rental" status in April 2010.

Staff: A Notice and Order was mailed to the owner on April 23, 2010 and is attached. The cost of repair was not included in the report.

Wisor: There was a construction accident on June 3, 2010 which damaged the foundation.

Staff: The property sustained damage on June 3, 2010.

Wisor: There is no criminal investigation related to this incident and John Wisor nor his contractors have ever been contacted or interviewed by the police regarding this issue.

Staff: The afternoon of June 4, CPD patrol officers canvassed the area and took statements of potential witnesses to determine if any crimes had been committed and preserve recollections while they are still fresh. Wisor did speak to officers at the scene on June 4, 2010 and indicated the house was damaged due to a construction accident.

After the initial canvassing by patrol, it was referred for follow up within the DPD to the detective bureau. At this point potential, appropriate charges would have been considered and any necessary follow up interviews would have been conducted depending upon whether any potential, appropriate criminal charges existed. Hence, Wisor and the construction folk(s) have not been interviewed by detectives. Since any appropriate charges would be by civil municipal infraction at this point, the investigation has been turned over to CPED's zoning enforcement division for follow up. CPED Staff and the Legal Department are determining next steps at this time.

Wisor: A licensed structural engineer produced a report on June 4, 2010 stating that the house is structurally unsound, unsafe, and should be taken down.

Staff: Quoting from the last paragraph of the Engineering Report by Chris Townsend: “It is my professional opinion that the structural capacity of the foundation and the framing system has been compromised and the house is no longer satisfactory. It is also my professional opinion that reconstructing this structure is not economically feasible due to the extent of demolition and reconstruction that is necessary to realign the foundation and framing.” See attached.

Wisor: The new house was designed with the cooperation of city staff and meets all city design criteria created for the Village of East Davenport.

Staff: City staff did work with the owner to assist him in designing a house that meets the requirements in the RIDO, Residential Infill Design Overlay District. Staff recommended to the Design Review Committee (DRC) of the Plan and Zoning Commission the design (attached) be approved conditioned upon the demolition being allowed to proceed. The DRC tabled the request to approve the design until the demolition question was answered.

The HPC and DRC are independent of each other and it is staff’s opinion that the DRC can and should have taken action without waiting until the HPC had determined the demotion status.

Wisor: The spray painting of the house is meant to show how out-of-control the situation is and to trivialize a few neighbors attempts to sway public opinion. The costs of restoring the house are not feasible or practical.

Staff: Comments from the author, no City response.

Wisor: Realistic Solutions for the HPC:

Target worthwhile properties. Start by selecting a hand-full of significant properties which can be managed and hold fund raisers to raise money to maintain the properties. Saving properties requires real hard work. The old Fire House in the Village could be a good place to start and could be turned into a community meeting place for historic preservationists. Do not label properties "historic" without the consent on the owner. Keep an open mind when evaluating properties for the historic value of the property. Cooperation is required from the owner since the building materials required to repair the building will not suddenly drop from the sky and attach itself to a building. The Palmer historic house sat vacant for 13 years without any repair or materials dropping from the sky.

Staff: Comments from the author, no City response.

Prepared by:

Matthew G. Flynn, AICP

Senior Planning Manager/Staff Liaison to the Historic Preservation Commission

City of Davenport


1125 Jersey Ridge Attachments -Various attachments, including historic district maps, photos of damage

Staff report with attachments -The Residential Infill Design Staff comments on the potential new structure

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Eastern Branch Library Grand Opening Images

Yesterday morning was the grand opening of the Eastern Avenue branch of the Davenport Public Library. It felt a lot like the West side's Fairmount Street branch grand opening from 4 and a half years ago, including huge crowds that greatly exceeded the local parking capacity. If there's one place I don't mind parking problems, its at a packed grand opening of a long-awaited public library.

Not only was the library's parking lot full, but all of the streets of Prairie Heights were full, and people were parking blocks away on the shoulder of Eastern. Its no wonder the library referendum passed back in 2003.

The entire library bears a lot of similarity to the Fairmount Street branch, with some updates, including the LEED certification, and relocated cafe/bookstore.

This is the fancy new automated book sorter. Its supposed to free up librarian time for more useful and human-requiring tasks.

I didn't take too many pictures of the exterior yesterday, but I'll get back out there soon and get an assortment of angles of the building.

Its great to have a branch back on the east side, and hopefully this new library will help the continuing build-out of Prairie Heights. Its a beautiful facility that the city should be proud of.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

July 3rd Images

I'm trying to get back into blogging again, and it helps to have summer event pictures to post. I should have some images from last weekend's air show posted in the next few days, along with a rant-type post about the things that have made me mad enough to get back into blogging.

For today, here are some images from July 3rd in the QC.

Most of these are from yesterday's grand opening of Schwiebert Riverfront Park in Rock Island, which replaces the former site of Casino Rock Island, and the site of the now-demolished Rock Island Armory. While I feel that Davenport's riverfront as a whole is better and much bigger, I will say that Rock Island's first real downtown riverfront park is densely packed with great features. There's more neat stuff per square foot than probably any park in the QC.As soon as the ribbon was cut, the entire park was flooded with people.

The Midwest's first "electronic playground" which has stuff like buttons that light up different colors so kids can play a version of capture the flag by trying to light up all the other team's buttons while defending theirs, and a bunch more games that nobody could figure out. I wish they had this kind of stuff when I was a kid, and I'm especially glad to see cities putting real playgrounds in again instead of some of the junk they built in the 90's.

Rock Island has realized that it makes no sense to block off all view of the river 100% of the time when it only floods about 1% of the time. Removable gates can be dropped into place between the pillars to create a flood wall only when needed.

There were of course, a lot of speeches. The riverfront promenade offers views that haven't been seen by anyone in all the decades that the armory occupied the space. Now if only we could get the casino off OUR riverfront...

Speaking of Davenport's riverfront, we also attended Red, White and Boom, which was hugely popular due to the good marketing, beautiful evening, and Saturday night timing. I'm sure this blew through all records that the Blues Fest had ever set before, and I'd bet that they made up all the money they lost on admission fees in concession sales. The lines were 20-30 minutes long, so clearly they needed even more vendors (and bathrooms).

The fireworks were great too, but my camera doesn't do them justice whatsoever, so you'll have to use your imagination. Or Flickr. Also, thanks to all loyal QCI-readers that still check on this blog despite its long hiatus.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tonight: New riverfront park planning session

As you may have read in yesterday's QCTimes article, there will be a public planning session tonight in what the city calls the "East Industrial Park" area of the riverfront, near 4th and River Drive. The city is trying to decide what to do with the land formerly (and currently) occupied by Builders and River Gulf Grain. Even if you don't think anything should be done there, you should show up and share your opinion. If you just sit at home and complain on the QCTimes comments, don't be surprised when the people who do show up decide something you don't like.

The session is at 5:30PM.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Phil Yerington writes the worst letter to the editor of all time

Its almost like reading The Onion... but here it is:

Davenport vs. Bettendorf: Who's the snob? -QCTimes

Apparently this guy that thought he should be the Mayor of Davenport also thinks its the worst place in the world, and is in love with Bettendorf. Its really pretty hard to find a sentence in his letter that doesn't have some piece of false information or silliness in it.

-Bettendorf's 2 year old convention center is nicer than davenport's 20+ year old one? No way!
-The Isle of Capri in Yerington's world is a 5 star hotel? Apparently he hasn't stayed in many hotels.
-He rags on each piece of River Renaissance, which he spearheaded! Has he had a lobotomy? -The skybridge was in the original proposal for River Renaissance, but to him its silly now.

Does this guy know that there's this thing called Google, where we can look up his past actions and statements if we've somehow forgotten them all as he has?

With this letter he's actually making the "water fluoridation conspiracy" guy look like a better candidate for Mayor.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April Fool's Day Open Thread

Well, I didn't come up with an attempt at April 1st humor this year. Feel free to insert your own. The Good Friday vs Spring Holiday battle serves as a pretty good joke in itself, really... Just goes to show that we don't have the exciting stuff to argue about anymore.

I hope to put a few images from the WIU:QC groundbreaking up later today, unless I end up enjoying the beautiful weather. Winter might be my favorite season, but I'm still always happy when its over.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

News News News

Aside from the news that I'm actually posting something, there were a lot of interesting things in the news today.

First, has got to be the crime wave we're currently suffering through. By my count the QC has had 4 people killed in the last week, and that's terrible. Last night's shootings and the ensuing chaos at both hospitals, combined with the 2 fatal stabbings over the weekend, seem to bode badly for this summer being a quiet one.

In downtown Davenport news, we have an article in the QCTimes and a Downtown Davenport Facebook update both revealing that Restoration St. Louis has finally begun work on the interior of the Forrest Block building. The article mentions early next year as a completion time, so it will be interesting to see if they get to keep all their incentives and such. This article also says that the Blackhawk should be done yet this year.

oday is WIU:QC's groundbreaking. After reading about Deere donating the riverfront land to the school while I was still attending the Macomb campus, it seems like its been an eternity to get to this point. I'm hoping to attend, and the weather should definitely cooperate. If you're interested in witnessing the historic moment, the event starts at 1PM, with parking and shuttle available at the iWireless Center. Hopefully I'll have some pictures later.

I'm happy to see that some are pushing for RAGBRAI to return to the Iowa QC, or even Davenport itself. Considering the few hotels in LeClaire, you have to figure that most of the people stayed in Davenport and Bettendorf in 2008, so obviously we can handle both that and the Bix. It would be a heck of a celebration downtown, that's for sure.

Airport News:
Demolition starts renaissance for municipal airport -QCTimes

Quad City Air Show 2010's website is now up. It looks like no Blue Angels or Thunderbirds this year, but instead we'll have what's shaping up to be a huge collection of WWII warbirds. Hopefully along with the Tora Tora Tora display they can bring back the pyrotechnics that have been lacking the last few years.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Parade Images

Here are a few shots from today's parade. The weather was better than some years, worse than others. Overcast, misty, almost Irish weather...

Third Street, before the parade.

You never know what you're going to see in a QC St. Patrick's Day Parade. Irish Santa, and the weinermobile made appearances today.

And the parade joins into the 3rd Street bar area festivities. This block, at this exact hour of the year, has got to be one of the liveliest places in the QC.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Menards Update

It turns out that the QCTimes articles about the Menards dark store agreement were a bit inaccurate. This article said, "Worried that the 53rd Street store would sit empty and be an eyesore for months or years, Davenport aldermen demanded the company have a buyer or renter for its existing store before starting construction on the $15 million project." When I read that, I thought that it wasn't how I remembered it. There are indeed requirements, but none of them explicitly disallow Menards from building their new store before finding a new use for the old one.

Here's a PDF that you can download of the actual agreement from both 2005 and 2007. The first one was regarding Menards potentially moving to Elmore, and the second one has to do with the site on North Brady.

Download the actual pdf here:'s DarkStore Agreement.pdf

Monday, March 08, 2010

Menards and Museums

Davenport may kill Menards 'dark store' deal to spark construction -QCTimes

As someone mentioned in the comments earlier, the council is considering changing their mind. Shawn "Property Rights, sometimes" Hamerlinck helped pass a set of requirements having to do with the current Menards in order to rezone their future site near the intersection of Brady and 65th. At the time, there were a number of potential businesses going in out in that area, and the economy was humming right along. Now, a couple years later, things are a bit different. It appears that much of the council is willing to have an empty Menards on 53rd in exchange for a larger Menards spurring development in a new corridor and providing construction jobs. I don't know that they're wrong, but I do worry about the old Menards sitting empty for a long, long time. I can think of one possible use, but I'll do a post on that later.

Deal with city, schools creates a short-term boost for Putnam -QCTimes

This one gets pretty complicated, but the end result is the Parks and Rec department moving out of the old Davenport Museum of Art building, the Putnam giving up their claim to the building, and the Davenport Community School District preschool program moving into it from the former Eagles near the Fairgrounds. Having a school as part of the "museum campus" makes perfect sense, and in an ideal world the Putnam board can bring in some new tenants to their buildings downtown before using up the 3 year influx of money. We'll see. My main concern is with the Putnam in the future. If they do manage to turn things around and somehow have plenty of money again, where are they ever able to expand to in the future? They had always hoped to be able to expand into the former DMA building, but never had the cash. With this deal, that option goes away. I always hate to see the QC sell the future short during present difficulties. It does explain the sudden interest in the Parks department moving into the River's Edge (QCSC) building on the riverfront though. I wonder where the Community Services Division will go?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Blogging will resume shortly

I have fallen into my usual late winter slump. If I were Wundram, I would have flown off to somewhere interesting. I didn't. I should get back to normal QC-related stuff soon. First though, something completely different.

In the spirit of the just-finished Canadian Olympics, here's a video of a lady that has to be one of the neatest mayors in North America. She's 89 years old, and has been the mayor of Mississauga, Ontario for the last 31 years. I'd vote for her.

I know these widescreen YouTube videos kind of break the blog formatting, so I'll turn it into a link later today. (FIXED)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dispatch Tax Stuff

Some people in the comments on the previous post are starting a discussion on the city's decision not to lower taxes to make up for the county's new emergency dispatch center tax. I certainly haven't denied that the county taking over taxing for dispatch services and the city not lowering their taxes is a tax increase. Its just that we've known about it for years, despite what some people are claiming.

Here's a QCTimes article from 2007 talking about how they plan to use money saved by the (2009, ha!) opening of the consolidated dispatching center to hire front desk clerks for the police station. So you can see that at least 2 and a half years ago the city knew that they were going to be keeping at least some of the tax money currently spent on dispatching.

Sometimes unpopular things are the right thing to do. The article in today's Times about the AA bond rating is really a final verdict on the unpopular stormwater fee. If the council hadn't passed that "budget-fixing fee" a few years ago, the city budget would be in far worse shape. Instead, we've gone a number of years without the threat of police layoffs that used to be an annual event. So yes, taxes and fees in Davenport have been slowly rising over the last decade, but so has the quality of life. If we can keep making Davenport a better place to live, we should start gaining enough residents to spread the future costs out over more people, and keep taxes and fees steady.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Refresh the Hilltop and more riverfront meetings

A couple things about the Hilltop Campus Village.

In the paper today, the Aldi and former Walgreens on Brady will be demolished, and replaced with a larger, nicer Aldi. The one out at 53rd and Elmore certainly has a different feeling than most Aldis or Save-A-Lots that I've been in. I'm sure city staff are trying valiently to convince them to build a non-suburban style store. It didn't work with Walgreens, so we'll see if it does with Aldi.

In the "thinking outside the box" category, the Hilltop district is competing in the Pepsi Refresh Project. This project consists of a Pepsi promotion to give away millions of dollars to good causes, based on people voting for their favorites. Hilltop is asking for $25,000 to buy metal trash bins to put around the neighborhood with the Hilltop logo on them. The top 10 projects seeking $25k get the money, and right now we're 96th. You can vote each day, and the contest ends at the end of the month. Vote for Hilltop here! I've probably spent that on Pepsi over my lifetime anyway...

And the other thing is an upcoming meeting. Here's what the city has to say about it:

The Levee Improvement Commission, Davenport Parks and Recreation and the Design Center want to know your ideas for developing the East Industrial Area (along the Mississippi River just up river from the Government Bridge).
Join us on Monday, February 8th from 5 - 7 PM in the Film Room at the Main Street Library in downtown Davenport for an Open House as we kick-off the planning process.
Be a part of history!

I kind of liked the suggestion that a casino take over the Clayton House/Clarion/HoJo/eyesore property and be connected via pedestrian bridge across River Drive to a restaurant and plaza along the river. There would still be a lot of room upstream for more uses if that happened, which seems about 1% likely anyway. I plan to go to the meeting and see what's happening. These are where these things are decided, after all, not the smoky back rooms that the negative folks picture.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Anti-Bettendorf Rant

The thing that got me thinking about this again was this QCTimes editorial about the QC Sports Center, believe it or not. What really got my goat was this 15+ year old quote:

“Where do we draw the line?” former Bettendorf alderman Joe Douglas said in a 1994 council meeting. “I’m not sure we should be bankrolling the facility. There are many types of projects that benefit the Quad-Cities as a whole. Each city funds these projects on their own without funding from other cities.”

Yes... each city provides things that benefit the QC as a whole. Or at least, that's how it should work. In reality, what does Bettendorf bring to the table? I count a total of one QC-wide amenity, which is the Family Museum. I'm not talking things like libraries and parks, which all of the QCs provide, but metro-wide amenities like the Figge, Botanical Center, or iWireless Center.

Bettendorf is around 1/3rd the size of Davenport, and 3/4 the size of each of the cities of Rock Island and Moline. Does anyone believe that Bettendorf provides 1/3rd as many QC amenities as Davenport, or 3/4 as many of the amenities as Rock Island or Moline provide? This doesn't stop them from using all of the culture and amenities that the QC has to offer to market to and attract residents to Bettendorf, of course.

Then there's the additional factor of Bettendorf having a meager fire department and relying on Davenport's help for anything larger than a dumpster fire. I'd imagine it would also cost Bettendorf quite a bit to build their own Sewer Treatment Plant rather than using Davenport's. So they take advantage of these things provided to them by their larger neighbor, which allows them to keep their taxes low, which they then use as a selling point when luring away Davenport's residents.

I suppose the main thing that bothers me is that Bettendorf is essentially leeching off of Davenport. Their "Premiere" city could not keep its taxes low and provide the quality of life that many of its citizens want without Davenport. Yet on the other side of the coin, Davenport would actually be in much better shape without Bettendorf siphoning off Davenport's wealthier citizens and potential residents.

Bettendorf wouldn't be as good without Davenport.
Davenport would be better without Bettendorf.
Maybe they should change the name of their tiny riverfront recreation area to Leech Park.

Friday, January 22, 2010

2 Links Open Thread

A couple quick things this morning:

As the blurb in the QCTimes mentioned, the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau has redone their website again. It looks really good and has a ton of great info, but my favorite part is the "Ask a question" section where you can type in a question about the QC and they do their best to answer it. There's also an archive of some of the questions asked, and their answers. Its always interesting to see what outsiders want to know about the Quad Cities.

The other thing is the new Facebook page for the Hilltop Campus Village. There's alsoa website, but its in its very early stages and still being worked on. So if you're on Facebook, and support the Hilltop area of Davenport, please become a fan.

Other than that, open thread.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A few more downtown images

The Blackhawk Hotel renovation is coming along, including all new windows. Anyone know whether they're going to stay white or be painted?

The new 7th Judicial District building towering over the current one, and downtown's (relatively) new Crescent Cleaners location.

I've always loved both the law offices just east of Brady, and this huge residence on East 6th Street. Hopefully with Palmer's growth, the Crescent Warehouse District, and the CityView nearby, this neighborhood just north of downtown can really take off as well. There are certainly plenty of potential infill locations. I've already heard a rumor of a new eating establishment coming to Brady.

A different view of downtown, mostly featuring the Blackhawk and MidAmerican buildings.