Davenport City council approves spending package 1 month after building collapse

Published: Jun. 29, 2023 at 12:23 AM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Before Tuesday night’s Davenport City Council meeting, a handful of people gathered for a vigil, remembering the victims of “The Davenport.”

Tuesday marked a month since the deadly collapse of the downtown apartment building.

Susie Lehmann and others lit candles on the corner of Fourth and Harrison.

She said Davenport still has a long way to go for justice.

“It’s sad that my friend died,” Lehmann said. “Let’s do something to honor his life by not letting this happen to anyone again.”

The Davenport woman knew Ryan Hitchcock, one of the victims.

“What is the city doing?” Lehmann said. “Everyone seems to be passing the buck, Why? Why did this happen? Who dropped the ball? I miss my friend.”

Across the street, city council approved a $3 million spending package for the demolition and response of the apartment building.

Of that, $500,000 was dedicated to public safety. The other $2.5 million was earmarked from the general fund.

The city already spent about $500,000 for retaining demolition crews, an architecture firm, a crisis public relations firm and special first responders.

Alderwoman Judith Lee was frustrated with some of the language in the contracts.

“I was surprised with some of the contracting clauses or lack of clauses that were approved by the city manager,” Lee said.

City Attorney Tom Warner said City Administrator Corgi Spiegel signed off on the orders with his approval.

Later in the meeting, he confirmed they do not want to leave taxpayers on the hook for the bill.

“Our end game — if you will — even if we get aid from the federal government to do this is always to go after the property owner,” Warner said.

During public comment, residents for the fourth week in a row passionately asked for more transparency from city leaders.

“People have been asking why god made this happen but god did not do this,” Diane Sambdman said. “He is grieved by this. The greed of man is what caused this tragedy. The selfishness of man caused this tragedy.”

The budget amendment passed unanimously.