More Work Needed To Strengthen Davenport's Hilltop Economy - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

More Work Needed To Strengthen Davenport's Hilltop Economy


Saturday marks the third fall festival put on by the Hilltop Campus Village. As part of its efforts to attract more people into central Davenport.

Business owners say the efforts are working.

But census data shows more work is needed.

More work because both Rock Island and Scott Counties saw businesses leave the area between 2009 and 2010.

ZIP code 52803 saw both a down sizing in hospitality and the retail industries.

Five retail stores closed their doors.

And fewer people were employed by restaurants and bars as those groups slimmed down on employees.

The Hilltop neighborhood is part of the 52803 ZIP code.

Making efforts to bring people back, all the more important.

"There's only three ways to cut hair, either short, medium, or long," says Joe's Barber Shop owner Joseph McLemore.

Hair styles come and go. But he says Hilltop businesses have only gone.

"Everything has moved out."

He gives some blame to Davenport's growth away from its urban core.

"The last twenty years up on this hill, things have really gone kind of sour, no one's really trying to open up a business here because they believe there are better opportunities elsewhere."

And McLemore says the hilltop hasn't been able to shake off a reputation for roughness.

"We've had a little violence up here, but I don't believe it's worse than any other area, the only reason the stigma still stands is it's the inner city and it's possibly more minority."

He's not sure what it will take to revitalize this corridor. But says anything is better than nothing.

"Like I said before, nothing beats a failure if we try, the more that we try, I'm pretty sure that we could get that done."

P & G's Variety Shop owner Glen Humes says, "it's an area that seemed like it had some growth and some development, behind it."

He opened his doors in 2004. Trying to capitalize on a blank spot in the economy. And he says its working.

"I see some demand in the area for products that weren't being provided, so I decided as an entrepreneur to give it a shot and here we are today."

He says the Hilltop Campus Village is a good location. It just lacks enough open signs.

"Having a community base that reaches out farther beyond the community within the area."

Humes wants to see the fall festival expand to other parts of the year.

"Create some repetition, someone that comes in for the spring and summer events would come down for the fall as well."

Repeat visitors that could spread the word about coming back to the top of the hill.

The Hilltop Campus Village received state money to help spruce up blighted properties back in 2010.

It's board has worked with Saint Ambrose students to generate more ideas on redevelopment.

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