In an interview promoting his 2007 lecture at the Figge Art Museum, urban planner Jeff Speck promised that his ideas would be "controversial." He explained to me that "most cities, for better or for worse, are being designed by their public-works departments, who state as the highest objective the free flow of automobiles."
Three years later, the City of Davenport is on the cusp of approving a 10-year comprehensive transportation plan called "Davenport in Motion" that draws from the philosophy Speck promotes. The shock is that it's barely controversial at all.
The irony was clear. Earlier this month, Michael D. Elliott came in third place by one vote in the Third Ward primary for Davenport City Council.
Elliott ran for Scott County Auditor - the election administrator for the county - in 2008 on a platform that included election transparency and integrity, including a push for post-election audits. The recount he requested in the city primary gave him the opportunity to test the system.
The recount returned the same results, and Elliott said by e-mail that he was satisfied with the policies and procedures put in place by Auditor Roxanna Mortiz, who defeated him and Steve Ahrens last year: "The process was thorough and documented. Obviously the counts came out correctly. I was also there at one of the precincts to watch the poll be closed, so I pretty much got to see the entire process in action. I am very confident that the system works as it should. ... Moritz was very open and patient and did an excellent job throughout this small election. I'd say it was a good trial before our larger municipal election" next week.
Representatives from roughly 60 arts, culture, heritage, and festival organizations on August 26 agreed to create what's tentatively being called the Cultural Marketing Resource Center to facilitate coordinated marketing for Quad Cities attractions and events.
Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Joe Taylor will apply for grants to jump-start the program, with a goal of opening the center by the beginning of 2010. Taylor said that if enough money isn't raised by November, the opening will be delayed. He added that the center could be funded for two years - including the salary of a director dedicated to arts and culture events - for $150,000. Other sources of revenue discussed at Wednesday's meeting were hotel/motel taxes, membership fees, and contributions from private and public sources.
On Thursday, July 23, business leaders announced the realignment of Quad Cities economic-development organizations. This will mean the end of DavenportOne and the Quad City Development Group, and the beginning of the Iowa Quad City Chamber of Commerce and Quad Cities First.
Effectively, this shifts control of external marketing and business-attraction efforts from the Quad City Development Group and its board to two chambers of commerce: the Illinois Quad City Chamber of Commerce and the Iowa Quad City Chamber of Commerce (the successor to DavenportOne, whose staff and resources will be merged into the new entity).
The two chambers' chief executives will run Quad Cities First -- a new organization, taking over the role of the Quad City Development Group -- and the chambers will together nominate 10 of its 17 board members. (Seven city and county governments will each appoint one member.)
The meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May 12, has been described as the beginning of a master-planning process for Lindsay Park, with the potential impact to spill over into the Village of East Davenport. Darrin Nordahl, of the City of Davenport's Design Center, described the process as "very long and involved" and said he envisioned meetings to the end of the year.
But for many opponents of shifting the use of some park land - largely for parking for Village businesses - the process already appears well underway.