Rhythm City Casino barge

The Rhythm City barge and porte cochere on the Davenport riverfront. The porte cochere was razed last week, and the barge could be gone next week.


The remnants of the downtown Rhythm City Casino will be on the riverfront for a few more weeks.

The city of Davenport is willing to give Rhythm City Casino Resort until the end of May to remove its barge from the riverfront after two more cities contacted the casino about obtaining the floating platform.

Owner Dan Kehl briefed the City Council at its Tuesday afternoon management update meeting, explaining that he would prefer to donate the barge to the eastern Iowa cities of Fort Madison or Keokuk, which expressed interest after the city of Clinton passed last week.

"We've had two other cities in eastern Iowa that have approached us and would consider taking the barge down to their facilities," Kehl said.

Rhythm City was given a deadline of March 31 to remove the barge and porte cochere after the city of Davenport chose to scrap plans for development using the barge and instead focus on more land-based development.

Rhythm City had placed its asset for sale through Pinnacle Marine Corp. for $399,500 after it relocated its operations to a land-based casino on Elmore Avenue, but it did not receive any offers.

General Manager Mo Hyder said the two options the casino arrived at were donating the barge to Clinton or to Living Lands and Waters, which has said it would accept it.

However, Clinton's decision not to accept the donation opened the door for Fort Madison and Keokuk, which are more attractive options for Kehl because the barge would then be of use to eastern Iowa.

"We're not making any money off of this as a pure donation," Kehl said. "We really just wanted to see it in eastern Iowa."

Living Lands and Waters founder and president Chad Pregracke had conceptualized the idea of using the barge for a floating park on the Davenport riverfront, but his proposal did not gain any traction.

The proposal was a hit to the public, which prompted Pregracke to contact other cities about the possibility, and he is in talks with St. Louis about the proposal coming to fruition on its riverfront.

Kehl said that Living Lands and Waters still remains an option and called it a "standby program."

Having a few more weeks for Fort Madison and Keokuk to go through their processes will allow Rhythm City to exhaust all of its options before handing the barge over to Living Lands and Waters.

Alderman Ray Ambrose, 4th Ward, suggested that Rhythm City talk to the city staff about possibly moving the barge to another location as it waits to find a final destination.

"We want you be successful on the transition, but we get the riverfront open as soon as possible," Ambrose said.