Davenport aldermen learned Wednesday that time does fly when you're having fun.
Faced with an agenda that included several economic development projects, aldermen concluded business in less than an hour. That included a casino matter that often draws discussion, but at this meeting did not.
That is well short of the previous two meetings that were five hours and 31/2 hours, respectively, as the council addressed a controversial proposed use for the former K's Merchandise building.
The council heard Wednesday of a Toyota dealer's plan to put a new car dealership at 53rd Street and Eastern Avenue, continued downtown redevelopment and a new grocery store chain entering the market. The council will vote on rezoning requests for the first two projects and approve a final design of the grocery store at next week's meeting.
"These are very positive items on the agenda," said Alderman Gene Meeker, at-large, who chairs the council's economic development committee.
He was especially pleased about North Carolina-based Fresh Market choosing to put a 20,800-square-foot store in the northeast corner of the parking lot at Rave Cinemas, 3601 E. 53rd St., the company's first in Iowa.
"It is a good move that they chose Davenport," Meeker said. "They were being wooed by a number of places."
Alderman Jeff Justin, 6th Ward, who represents the area where the upscale grocery store will locate, also was pleased by the project.
"This is going to be a nice asset for that corridor," he said.
The Toyota dealership, owned Gurley Leep Automotive Family of South Bend, Ind., is locating at the southwest corner of 53rd and Eastern. Gurley Leep bought Lujack's NorthPark Auto Plaza in 2006 and Quad-City Toyota in 2011. The rezoning request is to allow access off of 53rd Street.
The council will expedite the three readings of the auto dealership's request, which requires three votes to become official. Next week, after the first vote, the council is expected to suspend its rules and approve the other two needed votes.
Restoration St. Louis is seeking the rezoning of a building at 427 Pershing Ave. from light industrial to central business district. The company wants to renovate the building into 41 apartments.
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Alderman Bill Boom, 3rd Ward, also reminded the council that the City Plan and Zoning Commission voted 10-0 Tuesday to rezone the Kahl Home at 1101 W. 9th St. so it can be converted into senior housing.
"It looks like we found a good developer for the Kahl Home," he said. "It is a perfect fit for the neighborhood."
In other action, the council set approving the transfer of riverfront leases from Isle of Capri to Scott County Casino on its consent agenda. The city will receive $380,000 from the Isle of Capri, owner of the Rhythm City, and must reach a development agreement with Scott County Casino LLC. Scott County Casino is buying the riverboat for $51 million and will operate it while building a land-based casino.
The only comment from aldermen was praise for city attorney Tom Warner for his work on the issue. Justin, who chairs the council's finance committee, noted the $380,000 nearly covers the $387,500 bill from Deloitte for due diligence from when the city considered buying the Rhythm City.
Mayor Bill Gluba said after the meeting that he hopes the entire transaction can be completed by the end of the year. He expects to meet with Scott County Casino officials before the end of the month.