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.