Davenport approves aid package as public demands more action in apartment collapse

Published: Jun. 14, 2023 at 11:40 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The Davenport City Council approved financial relief for residents and businesses impacted by the partial collapse of a downtown apartment building, on Wednesday night.

The plan uses $600,000 dollars in COVID relief funds to provide an aid package for residents and businesses impacted by the collapse of “The Davenport.”

With Second Ward Alderwoman Maria Dickmann absent and Alderman-at-Large JJ Condon choosing to abstain, the resolution passed in an 8-0 vote.

“Living in the qualifying area I didn’t apply for it,” Condon said during the discussion for the item. “Nor will I receive any assistance. I fully support it.”

Meanwhile across the street from city hall, demolition continues at the site of the deadly incident.

The demolition of the collapsed building appears to almost be done. Tuesday night, about half the structure was up. On Wednesday night, it appeared that about two stories from what was left remained.

Late on Tuesday, attorneys for Peach Berry, a woman who lost a leg in the collapse, filed to have the demolition paused so they could gather more of their own evidence.

However, on Wednesday morning, a judge denied that motion. According to court documents, the judge ruled that the defendants were not properly notified of the filings.

The city’s Chief Strategy Officer Sarah Ott declined to comment on the request.

She reiterated that demolition will take several weeks.

Berry’s attorneys did not immedietly return TV6 News’ request for an interview.

During public comment at the city council meeting, people like Davenport resident James Blue continued to ask for transparency.

“You ran for this position,” Blue said toward the city council and Mayor Mike Matson. “You wanted to be here. You chose to be where you are at right now.”

Another resident had family living in the building. She and others wanted the city to act quickly in finding answers.

“It’s sad,” the resident said. “It’s terrifying that you could go to the store and get groceries and come back to no home.”

Others expressed frustration with how city officials handled warning signs that the building would collapse. David Sidran said the city is now facing the consequences with multiple lawsuits.

“The city is going to be on the hook for tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars and the city is acting like everything is normal,” Sidran said. “I gotta tell you I’ve done some stupid things in my life but I’ve never bankrupted a city.”

Also on Wednesday, the city announced they are contracting two external firms, White Birch Group, LLC and SOCOTEC Engineering, to investigate the cause of the collapse. There is no estimate on how long that may take.