Downtown Davenport Partnership talks past, future projects at annual meeting

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 4:17 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The Downtown Davenport Partnership (DDP) held its annual meeting on Tuesday.

At the meeting, DDP said it went over the past of downtown and future economic development plans, as well as infrastructure and livability projects, and communications and advocacy efforts to support area businesses in the Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District.

“Downtown businesses continue to be resilient in the face of an extraordinarily challenging situation,” said Kyle Carter, DDP Executive Director, said in a news release. “The one-two punch of record flooding and COVID-19 has brought the downtown community together, and the Quad Cities’ has shown amazing support for the small businesses that make up the backbone of our local economy.”

DDP said from July 2019 to June 2020, 12 projects representing $7.5 million of new investment were completed. Projects that are under/pending construction represent an additional $48 million of investment, and more than $70 million is planned for investment in the future. In total, DDP said more than $600 million has been invested in downtown Davenport since 2000.

DDP sent TV6 a list of highlights, among other things discussed at the meeting:

The public-private partnership between DDP and the City of Davenport has been expanded. Beginning July 1, DDP operations crew will provide services seven days a week. In addition to their normal beautification duties maintaining flower baskets and beds and keeping downtown sidewalks clean, expanded responsibilities now include parking ramp cleaning, daily trash pick-up, Skybridge cleaning, pocket-park maintenance along with other ad-hoc work. In addition, an agreement between the two groups has also led to an upgrade of the downtown's LED lighting from a "patchwork quilt" of separately maintained private and City-owned lights to consistent poles and streetscape plans.

DDP said its staff provided the following support via multiple areas as COVID-19 has impacted the area:

DDP disseminated information on operational and financial resources to stakeholders as well as developed four different shop local campaigns to help businesses regain revenue. Staff created online messaging outlining ways to support retailers, restaurants and other service professionals while their doors were closed as well as launched a QC Local Challenge bingo game to increase traffic to downtown retailers. DDP also coordinated two drive-thru shopping events for businesses to offer curbside or online specials. Soon, DDP will launch the Front Porch Project, a campaign highlighting downtown business owners as the real people behind small businesses bearing the brunt of impacted operations. DDP also worked on behalf of downtown businesses with City officials to address regulations for outdoor dining.

Activities surrounding the new downtown Strategic Master Plan to determine downtown’s economic and cultural future are in full swing, with a public input survey ready to be released in early July. DDP has been working with WXY, a New York City-based architecture, urban design and planning firm, to develop the plan. WXY is partnering with SB Friedman, a specialized real estate and development advisory firm based in Chicago, and Sam Schwartz, a national leader in multi-modal urban mobility, to complete the project. Once completed and approved by Davenport City Council, DDP and the City of Davenport will work together to bring the plan to fruition. 

Our local businesses and cultural institutions need your support now more than ever,” said Carter. “Whether visiting in person, shopping online, donating to non-profits, or simply sharing a social media post, any kind of support will help boost downtown Davenport and our region.”

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