There was a letter in the Quad-City Times last week, and it appears that the author was laboring under some mistaken assumptions. For example, he clearly did not know that the City of Davenport's tax rate is today only 1 percent more than it was in 1992. Not 1 percent per year, but 1 percent in 12 years. He also did not know that Davenport has lower fees and taxes per capita than most other big cities in Iowa. Davenport officials are being fiscally prudent with our property taxes. Even so, Davenport has created $60 million in new tax base and hundreds of jobs in the last two years! At the same time, Davenport has spent $14 million on streets, $7 million on sewers and waste, $16.5 million on our police, and $12 million on our fire department, every year. Davenport is taking care of the basics and growing, too!

Some wonder about the River Renaissance projects and John O'Donnell renovation. It is a lot of money, but most of it is coming from the casino, Vision Iowa, the private sector, sales taxes, and hotel taxes. Not property taxes. Also, River Renaissance is not over budget. The parking ramps opened on time and under budget. The Figge is ahead of schedule and under budget. No contracts have been awarded for the other parts, so they are not over budget, either, and they are being scaled back so they will not be over budget. John O'Donnell is not over budget to the taxpayers - any overage will be paid by the franchise owner. Finally, the last mayor and council signed a contract with the state for all the River Renaissance elements, so we have to build them or forfeit the $20 million from the state - we cannot now pick and choose.

I believe we have to build new amenities to be attractive to new job providers and new businesses. If we don't move forward, we will stagnate and slowly wither, which is what Davenport did for the last 40 years. Look at Clinton, then look at Dubuque or Cedar Rapids. Where would you rather be? The choice is clear. Many young people are already moving here or back here because they can see a future in Davenport again. A few years ago, they all moved away because we were doing nothing to make this a better place to live. We cannot go back to the old ways, because eventually they drive property taxes up and cause a downward spiral of deteriorating services and lost jobs. We've been there, but now we've got momentum and renaissance.

Yes, basics first, and that's just exactly what we're doing and a whole lot more.

Charles Brooke, Mayor

Community Fortunate to Have Ballet Quad Cities

This is really a lucky year for those of us living in the Quad Cities area, especially for those of us who appreciate and support the arts. Thanks to Ballet Quad Cities, we now have the opportunity to enjoy a Shakespearian classic as told through the rich tradition of dance. This year, Romeo & Juliet is being produced for our community by Ballet Quad Cities. On October 18 and 19, families in the Quad Cities area (and beyond) will all have the opportunity to experience the breathtaking athleticism and grace of highly trained dancers. In addition, we will have the chance to witness the award-winning choreography of Johanne Jakhelln, whose work will be set to music originally written by Sergei Prokofiev for the Russia-based Bolshoi Theatre. Now, that's good family entertainment!

In addition, the dance company will produce another inspiring version of The Nutcracker this year. Children from families in our community as well as several adults are already practicing for performances scheduled for the weekend after Thanksgiving. For many of us, The Nutcracker is a wonderful way to start off the Christmas season, as well as an opportunity to support and enjoy the arts in our own community.

Last year, I moved to the Quad Cities area, and it has been a pleasure to learn about the community through local papers and the arts. Without the coverage, Ballet Quad Cities would have remained unknown to me. We all need more opportunities to find out about this wonderful dance company. You see, where I lived before, the media and community failed to support the arts. With little national funding available, our local ballet company folded. It was a terrible loss. As a result, it's easy for me to see how lucky we are to have access to a dance company in our community and how important it is to really support the company. It is my hope that the River Cities' Reader will continue to cover and support the arts, especially dance. That way, more people can see Ballet Quad Cities and come to recognize it as a real gem, something that deserves to be shown off and admired as often as possible.

Galen Leonhardy, Instructor
Black Hawk College

Why Stop Progress?

I have been following the recent heated discussion about River Renaissance with reactions that range from amazement to incredulity. It is baffling to me why anyone would want to slow or stop the progress our community is finally making. Look at any city, of any size, in this country and you will discover one irrefutable fact: A city either improves or declines. There is no middle ground; there is no "staying the same as we have always been." Davenport and the Quad Cities in general are finally improving and growing.

I am a single, young professional employed by Interactive Technologies Group, a Davenport-based company that produces high-tech Web-based computer applications, part of a growth industry that certainly represents the foundation for the future success of the economy of any city. Our profession provides one of the best kinds of industry for a community by combining high-paying jobs with little impact on the infrastructure of the city. And to attract those kinds of businesses, we must first attract the educated people who will staff them.

I grew up in the area, watching over the past 20 years as young people have left in droves, in search of communities that will offer the kind of vibrant and attractive lifestyle they want. With their exodus came the exodus of jobs and a decline in the quality of life for everyone here. Finally, through River Renaissance, that trend has been reversed and Davenport is becoming an exciting place to live and work. We have new attractions, new stores, new restaurants, and a growing cultural life. Young people are talking about staying, and new people are arriving every day.

Stop or slow this progress? Not follow through on River Renaissance? Abandon our future? The very thought is preposterous!

Casey Borgman,
Project Director,
Interactive Products Group

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