Despite pushback from other stakeholders, the city of Davenport is prepared to release a request for proposals, or RFP, for design standards for Main Street landing.

Looking to create continuity on the riverfront, city staff sought feedback from the Levee Improvement Commission, Parks and Recreation advisory board, design review board and Historic Preservation Commission about its intention to find a firm to help develop design standards.

But despite questions and comments about the need for an RFP, city staff felt it was the most appropriate direction to move in to encourage progress on the riverfront.

"We believe that our best use of our time right now is really establishing design guidelines to help phase the build-out of this area," Finance Director Brandon Wright said.

The selected firm would be responsible for seeking public involvement and feedback about what design standards residents would like in the area.

"They're supposed to get this feedback and present us with three different options," Wright said.

With the city looking for more development along the riverfront, Wright said it was important that the it maintain some continuity versus it looking a hodgepodge of ideas.

"No one wants to get five years down the road from now and say it just doesn't look like it fits altogether," Wright said.

Feedback from the Levee Improvement Commission and Parks Board was similar in nature, but wasn't necessarily about the intent of the RFP itself.

"The majority of the people in the groups felt that there was no need for a company to do this for us as a vendor," Wright said. "They said we should look to do it in-house or as we go along."

The fear was that setting these standards would stifle creativity for design ideas by limited them to a certain scope of work, Wright said.

City Administrator Corri Spiegel said that the city looked at its options for doing the work in-house, but its best options were to look outside the city.

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"Public Works has a robust workplan for the summer and designing world-class parks is not our core competency," Spiegel said.

The RFP is expected to cost around $30,000-$40,000.

With the RFP expected to take months, it will have an effect on one of the city's most anticipated capital improvement projects in the next fiscal year.

Davenport has budged $1 million per year for the next few years for projects near Main Street landing including a multi-use space next year.

The multi-use space would add electrical hookups, parking, landscaping and an area where festivals and events could be held. It would also serve as another area for food trucks to operate in.

The design elements selected in the RFP will be used to create the multi-use space, which likely won't begin construction until next year.

"I'm ready for you guys to start," Alderman Kyle Gripp, at large, said. "Talking about this for a long time, I think it's ready to start getting things done. To be honest, I thought we should have been enjoying food trucks on the riverfront by late summer or early fall."

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