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Realizing Armory Park’s Lifetime Value PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Guest Commentaries
Written by David Levin   
Wednesday, 21 January 2009 09:47

Every businessperson and every citizen wants to win with new residents and with economic development, all for good reasons.

As a member of the initial River Vision committee, I and hundreds of people talked about the visions of both Rock island and Davenport, and the riverfront they share. I listened and put forth my ideas for the Armory. Those ideas were a few years ago and not 2009. Armory Park is a wonderful concept in its time. Unfortunately, this is not the time. With fiscal responsibility to its citizens a primal concern of all mayors and city councils, we now must be diligent and closely monitor Rock Island in a troubled economy and be able to crunch down and maintain the status quo as necessary.

Just as in business, the key to winning clients for life is to avoid suffering defections. When a customer or citizen decides to buy or rent somewhere else, you have a defection. When a city has to be bogged down and cut quality and services for its citizens, that's a defection as well.

Its one thing to have a beautiful plan, compete with park and facilities. It's another thing to implement the plan that will fail in economics. I've seen marketing packages from countless companies. Most include 15-point, 21-point, or 30-point service action plans provided to its cities. The fact is we will be spending close to $13 million for this park. Now, add in something that hasn't been spoken about: the fact that it will cost thousands of dollars to maintain Armory Park during each and every year. How are we going to pay for this, when now we are looking at budget shortfalls in all departments and telling our citizens we have no money for infrastructure to fix sewers and streets? Additionally, add in the fact that the city might have to cut personnel in some areas. They just decided to cut $1.5 million off the General Fund several weeks ago.

The truth is if we continue to over-promise, and we lose track of what we owe to our community, then we have created larger problems.

My advice is this:

1. Tear the Armory down. Keep the seawall. Plan something that is going to bring in economic value along with a sales tax that will help our growth. Go through a multi-point action plan that we currently have to provide to our citizens and separate out the highest-value activities that we know we can perform with total consistency. Then commit to perform those tasks and be ready to execute flawlessly on that commitment.

2. If Armory Park is to be completed, either wait until better times are upon us, or bring Armory Park downriver where we have an abundant amount of riverfront.

Our City fathers have been steadfast, and the time to do that again is now. I tend to be more apt to under-promise and over-deliver. The separation between marginal performance and stellar performance doesn't come from an abundance of magical extras. It's the result of keeping your commitments. For the vast majority of our citizens, a city that keeps commitments is a must and must be done.


David Levin is a candidate for mayor of Rock Island. His Web site is


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