About a week ago, Chad Pregracke visited the Quad-City Times with a set of rolled-up renderings. He had an idea for a park that could be built on the barge on the Davenport riverfront. He was excited, and if you’ve ever been around Chad, President and Founder of Living Lands & Waters, you know his excitement is infectious. It’s how he gets things done. His energy inspires others, and it sets things in motion.
Since he unrolled those computer sketches of a grass- and tree-filled riverfront park, it’s obvious that we weren’t his only stop. Emails were sent campaigning for his proposal. Meetings were held among business leaders and elected officials. And, before the two submitted RFPs could officially go before the Davenport City Council, it was out that they might not have the “wow factor” that Mayor Frank Klipsch said he wanted for that key part of downtown.
Here’s the funny thing. Chad isn’t the only person to come into my office with plans or an opinion about the direction of the riverfront. I’ve seen maps and renderings and bound proposals.
And then there are the other voices — the frustrated voices.
There are those who think the public spoke long ago when they participated in the RiverVision process, which many think is no longer the guiding document. If RiverVision is not to be used, they say, there needs to be a new set of public meetings to come up with a new plan.
Agree or disagree, here’s the point: There are a lot of voices and a lot of opinions. There’s a lot of excitement and a lot of frustration. Proposals are flying. Decisions have not been made, and yet it seems decisions are being made, however unofficially.
The barge is about to sit empty or it’s about to go away or it’s about to be wonderful. I can’t predict. What I can predict is that the face of the riverfront is about to change.
It might be too late for a series of public meetings to come up with a plan, but it’s not too late to share your vision for the riverfront and what you’d like to see done with the barges.
Send them to me, and we’ll run them on the Opinion page next Tuesday, Nov. 29, which is the day the Davenport City Council will look at the one proposals submitted through the RFP process that hasn’t been eliminated from consideration.
We’ll accept letters, which must be signed just like a regular letter to the editor, until midnight on Sunday. Send them directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.