I had the pleasure of visiting Davenport recently. I admired the downtown view of the river and the eagles soaring. I walked to the Rhythm City Casino. In the front lobby there is a big TV screen with a presentation and a petition to build a big hotel on its current site at the river's edge. The drawing is beautiful and the petitions are filling up with signatures of visiting gamblers. But I had to ask myself: Does downtown Davenport need another big hotel? Has anyone checked hotel occupancy rates?

It made me think of Theodore Roosevelt's remarks at the 1915 San Diego Exposition. "Keep your waterfront and develop it that it may add to the beauty of your city ... and do not let a number of private individuals usurp it and make it hideous with building and then force your children to pay them an exorbitant sum to get rid of the ugliness they have created."

Think about Rhythm City's proposed big hotel project beyond the promise of pretty pictures and more jobs. Nothing can replace the soul-renewing vista of the mighty Mississippi visible from Davenport's many downtown buildings and streets. Please don't ruin it with a five- to 10-story wall between your downtown and the river. Downtown's space would become claustrophobic.

Smart riverfront development will preserve Davenport's priceless natural riverfront vista for future generations. The casino's hotel should be built away from the riverfront at its own expense. Meanwhile, if they need more hotel rooms, why don't they turn the Rhythm City riverboat into a hotel? It sits like a false promise in the water - look but don't touch.

I hope Davenport continues to invest in affordable downtown residential development and provide incentives for small businesses that give character to an urban space. Your focus on arts development is wise. Downtown needs a grocery store next, not another big hotel. A healthy community is not built by tourists, but by the dialogue, intelligence, good hearts, and hard work of the people who live there. Riverfront Davenport is in early stages of significant urban renewal. Keep up the good work. I was impressed with the Iowa folks I met.

I can gamble across America. Where else can I watch eagles soar from the comfort of a room? I hope Davenport's elected representative won't let a big outside corporation usurp local vision with glitzy promises.

Juliette Mondot

Riverfront Needs Thorough Planning Process


www.smartriverfront.com is a Web site that proposes a thorough public planning process before the Davenport City Council takes a position on the construction of a 10-story hotel and five-story parking ramp on an eight-foot earthen berm near the lock and dam. Visitors to the site may vote on the survey question and may post comments for others to read.

If the Web site contact is not convenient, Davenport residents may want to contact their alderman to share opinions.

I have firm belief in the responsibility and privilege of all citizens to be involved in decisions that will have an effect on the people of the Quad Cities for the many years ahead. What we do today will have an effect on the great great grandchildren who are yet to be.

Alan L. Egly
SmartRiverfront.com
Davenport

Corrections


• The story "NewVentures Center Open for Business" (River Cities' Reader Issue 519, March 9-15, 2005) gave the wrong name for a NewVentures client. The business is Mob Shopper.

• In the Spring Arts Guide (Issue 520, March 16-22), the name of the Ballet Quad Cities one-act ballet about Anne Frank was incorrect. The piece is titled From the Pages of a Young Girl's Life.

The Reader regrets the errors.

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