The city of Davenport is on to plan B after the City Council reviewed Restoration St. Louis' proposal for the barge and porte cochere on the riverfront.
The council has elected to look at more land-based development after several of the aldermen said the proposal lacked the "wow" factor the city was seeking.
"When I said I wanted to be wowed by the proposal, it's because the barge wasn't in the RiverVision, so if we were going to leave the barge, the proposal had to be so good that we had to do it," Alderman Kyle Gripp, at large, said. "That's not the feedback I've gotten."
Now, the city will seek to have the existing structure and barge on the riverfront removed. The council's decision ends a process that began in August on determining how to proceed with riverfront development.
Restoration St. Louis was one of two proposals submitted to the city's purchasing department as part of a request for proposals for the former Rhythm City Casino barge and porte cochere.
The firm's proposal centered on a floating brewery and event space on the barge as well as development of green space out to the base of the skybridge.
"The thought here behind this entire project was to provide a destination on the riverfront that would be open to the public," Restoration St. Louis President Amrit Gill said.
A review committee, consisting of Mayor Frank Klipsch, members of the Levee Improvement Commission, Parks and Recreation Board, council liaisons and members of the public, found that Restoration St. Louis' proposal met the grading criteria.
Six out of the 10 members said it met the long-term vision for the riverfront and voted for the council to discuss whether it wants to proceed further.
U.S. Inland Marine submitted the other proposal, but it did not score well in the review process.
Alderwoman Maria Dickmann, 2nd Ward, also agreed she was not blown away by the proposal, stating that she was influenced more by Living Lands & Waters founder Chad Pregracke's proposal for a floating park.
Klipsch would not entertain any discussion about Pregracke's proposal because the discussion was to be focused solely on Restoration St. Louis' plans.
Based on feedback she had received, Alderwoman Kerri Tompkins, 8th Ward, said people wanted the barge gone and looked forward to public-private partnerships for future development.
"This could be a great opportunity without the barge," Tompkins said. "People want that gone so they can actually see the riverfront."
When Alderman Jason Gordon, At-Large, said the renovation of the existing infrastructure was a digression of the city's riverfront vision, Alderman Bill Boom, 3rd Ward, disagreed.
Boom said the proposal fits within the historical plans for the riverfront and said the barge was as a "$6 million opportunity."
Both Boom and Alderman Ray Ambrose, 4th Ward, spoke in favor of pursuing Restoration St. Louis' plans.
With Davenport moving on from a water-based development, Finance Director Brandon Wright said the next step would be to notify the Rhythm City Casino to remove the barge and porte cochere by March 1.
Wright said the city also would hold workshops for the public to hear what ideas they want to see on the Main Street landing.
City Administrator Corri Spiegel said city staff will come back with a discussion of how to proceed next toward the end of January or early part of February.
Spiegel said the discussion about requesting proposals for a land-based development would be part of a council work session during the first quarter of 2017.