Davenport City Leaders Plan for State Funds to Build Waterpark, - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport City Leaders Plan for State Funds to Build Waterpark, Theater and More

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It's a program all about reinvesting in our communities. And Davenport city leaders say they want a share. Iowa has a new program that will distribute 100 million dollars to competing cities and counties across the state. Bettendorf laid out its proposed sports complex Monday. Wednesday night, Davenport city leader put their plan on the table.

They compare this to Vision Iowa, which brought us the Skybridge. This would also be a public/private partnership changing the face the city. City leaders say it would bring infrastructure like a water park to Interstate 80, as well as jobs, and at the same time bringing development to downtown.  And all of that, would be done with state money.

Mayor Bill Gluba says, "It's not a TIF, so it's not property taxes that we're losing. We're actually gaining. Roughly a thousand jobs if we get this together. I've been told by consultants that an indoor/outdoor water project, if that's one of the projects, is really needed and would really be popular and people would come to the Quad Cities."

The biggest requirements to get a share of the new Iowa Reinvestment District funds are uniqueness and economic impact. So cities that pitch projects that bring the most bang for the buck will get state funds to help pay for them, a percentage of new sales tax and hotel/motel taxes. 100 million dollars is at stake. And Davenport city leaders say some of that could help build retail and hotels, possibly near Interstate 80 and 74, along with that water park, a sports facility and theater.

It's a 250-million dollar mixed-use project on 25 acres. The mayor says that will create a thousand jobs and increase the tax base. There are a handful of requirements. These projects must be new and not casinos. But Davenport city leaders say this project would be built near the new land based Rhythm City. And they tell us they've been talking with its CEO Dan Kehl, and developer Rodney Blackwell, about getting involved in this project, and seeing if their work can help benefit downtown.

"So far, very good," the Mayor says. "You get some and give some back. If we can help them reduce their costs by 10 million dollars by gaining say, 10 million dollars in state revenue and they're willing to part with some of their profits to help us revitalize our older parts of town, maybe the riverfront, it's a win-win for everybody."

It's something city leaders will be talking a lot about in the coming days. The applications will be scored on a handful of criteria, with provisional approval coming by the end of June.

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