Karen Fischlein, who lives in the Davenport’s 3rd Ward, left no doubt Tuesday how she feels about saving the burned-out Credit Island Lodge.
To a round of applause from about 80 people who joined her at the Roosevelt Community Center to hear what city officials had to say about the future of the lodge, Fischlein opened up.
“If you can find the money for a bridge to nowhere, and for those ungodly planters in the middle of River Drive, you can save the Credit Island Lodge,” she said. “No matter what, there’s money to be had somewhere.”
The lodge was severely damaged May 2 by an early-morning fire. No cause has been found, but Fire Marshal Mike Hayman said the blaze has been ruled accidental.
Tuesday's meeting was arranged by Alderman Nathan Brown, whose 1st Ward includes Credit Island. Many in the audience let Brown, Mayor Bill Gluba, City Administrator Craig Malin and Public Works director Mike Clarke know that they want everything possible done to save the lodge.
Brown began the meeting by quoting Malin, who told aldermen at last week's city council meeting that because the building is in the floodplain, if repair costs exceed half of its assessed value of $613,500, the lodge will have to meet federal flood law regulations or flood insurance for the entire community could be jeopardized.
Clarke told the audience there are three engineering options: elevate the building seven to eight feet, protect it with some type of floodwall or berm, or open up the lower floor and let the river run through it.
John Frueh, chair of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, offered another option: Seek a waiver from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, because the lodge existed before the floodplain was designated.
Sara Childers said it may be beneficial monetarily to allow battlefield excavation that is being conducted on the historic island to be completed, “so we can see if we can tap into federal dollars.” Credit Island is the site of one of the western-most battles in the War of 1812.
She added that the building could be made into an interpretive center for Native American history on the island
Mike Peppers, a member of the Friends of Credit Island organization, told the audience that, ““We need to save the building, and let people know how the money is spent. What we need is people with a positive attitude willing to get their hands dirty and get this rebuilt.”