I am opposed to John Lewis Community Services' (JLCS) and Executive Director Kate Ridge's plan to build Cobblestone Terrace at 12th and Myrtle streets in Davenport. The project is for 14 single-family rental properties under the ROSE program through the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) tax-credit program. The project is also receiving $2.4 million from IFA, roughly $660,000 in HUD money, and $38,000 in tax-increment funding. HUD, IFA, the City of Davenport, and JLCS all failed to inform the families in the surrounding neighborhood prior to approval of this project in November 2002.

Our neighborhood is working to revitalize itself, and this project conflicts completely with the goals established by our neighborhood group.

I am opposed to the project for many reasons.

• The neighborhood already has a large concentration of rental property, currently 33 percent. We are working on increasing ownership; the current JLCS project is in direct opposition to this goal.

• The JLCS project is an incubator for home ownership; the more successful the program, the higher the turnover rate in these apartments. This constant turnover of residents will only increase the de-stabilization of our neighborhood.

• The JLCS plan calls for a high number of units relative to the size of the parcel of land; this is inconsistent with the surrounding neighborhoods.

• I am concerned about the safety of Jefferson Elementary School students and Friendly House visitors, due in part to the increased traffic.

• The project will add to the burden on the outdated and over-capacity infrastructure. Nearby families, for example, already are having problems with their basements being flooded with raw sewage. What happens when 14 new homes are added?

• When JLCS completes its 15-year obligation to the project, what happens to the rental units?

• I am concerned about increased noise, crime, and nuisances that could result from the increase in residents and decrease in stability in the neighborhood.

I believe the public money given to the project would be better used to rehabilitate existing homes in the area instead of building new rental property. The developer never consulted the stakeholders prior to the application, which has created a lack of trust in the agency. There are a disproportionate number of low-income rental projects in central Davenport, making it difficult for the central city to revitalize and creating a great burden for the residents.

Werner and Vileta Ernst

Review Misses the Trees for the Forest

Mr. LoGuidice missed the mark from the very headline (see "Exhibit Fails to Capture Diversity of LGBT Youth," River Cities' Reader Issue 455, December 10-16, 2003). The exhibit was not meant to show the diversity of LGBT youth; it was meant to show that these youth can thrive in their lives and communities, that even with societal attitudes sometimes in disagreement over homosexuality, these kids have voices and are using them. These LGBT youth were not seen as diverse, but as heroes, potential leaders, loving family members, gifted role models, regular kids.

Talk about missing the trees for the forest. Look at the youth in the picture, not the frame and how they were mounted on the wall. Yes, every frame was identical in size and color, so those viewing would notice the resilient youth in the picture. Reference to the Nazi troop reviews from the old World War II newsreels was inappropriate to say the least.

I would suggest a return to the gallery to see what you missed.

Scott J. VanDeWoestyne
Executive Director
Quad Citians Affirming Diversity
Rock Island

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