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Davenport kicks off public survey as part of flood study
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Davenport kicks off public survey as part of flood study

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The city of Davenport is asking the public’s input on the city’s flood response and vision for the riverfront.

City officials on Monday kicked off a city-wide survey as part of its ongoing flood study.

Following the historic floods of 2019, Davenport formed a flood task force to examine the issues and make recommendations for moving forward.  As a result, the city hired Cedar Rapids consulting firm H.R. Green, Inc. to determine how best to handle the riverfront and implement mitigation strategies to protect properties and prevent another downtown flood. That firm will likely have a full report and recommendations to present the Davenport City Council in fall of 2021, according to city officials.

Since the spring of 2020, staff and the consultant have been evaluating current flood measures and updating elevation data, said Clay Meritt, who manages planning and implementation of city public works projects.

The city of Davenport undertook a flood response and recovery planning study with several other entities, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to get a better understanding of the potential economic damages that each structure located within the floodplain may be exposed to during periods of flooding and the potential flood mitigation actions for these structures.

Merritt said he expects the results of the Army Corps' new elevation survey sometime in December or January.

As part of the process, the city and consultant are also gathering public input to help develop options and direction for Davenport’s future flood response, Merritt said.

"We want the public to talk through how they use the river, how they engage the river, and how they’re impacted by flood waters," he said. "We want their thoughts on what their idea is for the riverfront as we start molding these mitigation options."

Merritt said the consultant and city will use the feedback received from the survey to draft ideas of possible flood mitigation efforts and solicit additional feedback from the public on suggested flood remedies, before drafting more concrete recommendations and soliciting feedback ahead of presenting a finalized plan to the mayor and city council.

H.R. Green has already held conversations and solicited input from various downtown stakeholders, including the Downtown Davenport Partnership, which last month unveiled its master plan for the development of downtown.

Key to that plan is flood protection.

"To protect current and future downtown investment, the city should balance the implementation of its ongoing flood mitigation study with its broader goal of creating a playful and connected destination at the river’s edge," according to the Downtown Davenport Partnership. "A resilient riverfront can serve both needs," through "thoughtful design" such as berms, wetlands and nature trails that will "foster new economic activity and attract investment downtown."

DDP Executive Director Kyle Carter said Monday it's important Quad-Cities residents, businesses and other stakeholders provide their feedback to give city officials and the consultant a balanced perspective. 

"It’s important for the general public to make sure the city hears how balanced the needs really are through all this … a balance of protection and activity on the riverfront is really important and they need to hear that perspective," Carter said. "Businesses are looking to have a long-term solution that provides the infrastructure necessary for us to keep growing … and still have a playful and active riverfront."

The survey closes Nov. 23, and is available at www.davenportiowa.com/floodstudy. All input provided is anonymous, according to a city press release.

Individuals can also take the survey in person at the following locations, dates and times:

  • Noon to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 and 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19 a the Rockingham Road Hy-Vee
  • 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18 and 1 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19 at the Davenport Main Branch Library
  • 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18 at the Davenport West Branch Library
  • 2 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18 a the Davenport East Branch Library
  • 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Freight House Farmer's Market.
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