Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Brady/Harrison Corridor

Many of us, on the council, labeled the Brady/Harrison (Hwy. 61) corridor as a key focal point for economic re-investment in the city.

This council voted for the North URTE (http://www.ci.davenport.ia.us/images/latest/urte.htm) Zone this spring. Now DavenportOne is forming a task force, of business owners along the corridor, to form a long-term strategy for revitalization of this area. It is a key gateway and transportation route for our city.

Over 30,000 travel the 5-mile Brady/Harrison stretch daily, which ranks third for traffic count, behind the Kimberly and 53rd St. corridors. Incentives can be found from the Riverfront to I-80, now it is the hope of many that the final components come into place.

A solid list of anchors exist: a major interstate, a hospitality corridor, a major mall, an office tower, a large auto dealer, one of the QC's best parks, a university, a junior and senior high school, a chiropractic college, and a new downtown amenity base. These anchors, coupled with a new 65th/67th St. connection, are positives. Filling the voids, between these areas, is the challenge.

Some new businesses have recently popped up on the corridor (restaurants, sports complex) and some existing folks have or are expanding (Running Wild, Lujack's, St. Paul's Church, St. John's Church, plus others).

So what are the next steps? Elimination of one-ways has been proposed, but is rather costly. Additional bike lanes (perhaps a connection from Duck Creek - through Vanderveer - to the Riverfront) might help tie things together (utilizing Main).

I, personally, would like to see a focus on smaller/neighborhood business redevelopment South of Kimberly and more opportunities for larger "box store" developments closer to I-80. Perhaps some additional funding or grants might be available. Better neighborhoods and a reduction of crime, obviously, will help in certain areas.

Bottom line: if, through zoning and incentives, we are able to focus on this corridor and successfully revitalize it, then the areas surrounding the corridor will be better for it.

It is dangerous to have a decaying spine in the center of our city. The anchors are in place, the focus is coming, let's all hope sound initiatives are implemented and a rejuvenated corridor follows.

What are your thoughts? Any ideas for Brady/Harrison?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Neighborhoods USA Conference, Summary

The 31st Annual Neighborhood USA Conference took place May 25-26 in Kansas City, MO. I, along with a number of other Davenporters, took part in the conference to learn of other "best practices" that are working in various cities, with regard to neighborhood revitalization. Thanks to City Administrator Craig Malin and Bruce Berger, of CED, for making the trip and for their participation as well.

Nearly 900 attendees, from across the country, gathered at the KC Convention Center. Sixty workshops were offered, along with a few keynote addresses, and neighborhood tours.

I attended four workshops, a keynote address, and a forum during the two days.

Of the sessions I attended, I noted a "Top-3" that might have some direct impact if components were implemented within Davenport. The top-3 included Hollywood, Florida's Youth Coalition Program, Des Moines, Iowa's Neighborhood Finance Corporation, and Kansas City, Missouri's Good Hammer Program.

The Youth Coalition Program reaches out to children (ages 9-17) with monthly projects that are covered by local media. It partners with local PTA's, and introduces police officers to kids at young ages through sports and other activities. The program also identifies negative leaders in the children's circles and turns them into positive role models.

The Neighborhood Finance Program is a 501(c)3 that includes partners from: Polk County, the City of DM, Neighborhood Associations, Banks/Lending Institutions, and other businesses. The program has a board of directors that approves various neighborhoods for eligibility in the program. Since 1991, $137-million has been re-invested in DM neighborhoods. On-line at: http://www.neighborhoodfinance.org

The Good Hammer Program provides access to high quality, minor home repairs and financing for senior citizens who are at-risk of losing their homes to predatory lenders, in one or more target neighborhoods.

Davenporters did lead two workshops - Barbara Metz presented "Organizing Neighborhood Associations from the Beginning", while Pat Egly and Jannette Higginson presented "Community Politics."

Complete Notes and Additional Details at Ian's website:

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Neighborhoods USA Conference

I will be attending the Neighborhoods USA Conference this week (Thursday/Friday) in Kansas City. I hope to learn of some "best practices" from other communities with regard to neighborhood revitalization. I will post a report upon return.

The conference website is located at the following link: http://www.kcmo.org/neigh.nsf/web/nusa

Open/City Meeting in 1st Ward, Review 5/9/06

I would like to thank all who attended the Open/City Meeting I hosted at the Roosevelt Center. We had a productive meeting with good levels of participation, some great comments, and some great suggestions. Open lines of communication strengthen the bond between elected officials and citizens.

I hope to continue hosting and/or participating in meetings such as this. I would also like to thank some folks from the City who attended: Clayton Lloyd, Community Economic Development Director; Cindy Webb, City Council Assistant; Officer Lee, DPD; Keith Meyer, 3rd Ward Alderman; and Barney Barnhill, 7th Ward Alderman.

Feel free to add additional ideas/suggestions on the blog, thanks - Ian

(photo courtsey of QC - Images)

I have posted notes/comments from the meeting on my website at: http://www.ianfrink.com/RCmtg.html