Why are you running for Davenport City Council?
I am a lifelong Davenport resident who has chosen to raise my four children here with my wife. I am passionate about making Davenport a great city; a place where people choose to live because it offers a great quality of life and economic opportunities to prosper.
How does your work, public service or volunteer experience translate to serving on the Davenport City Council?
I have served on the Davenport City Council for two years. I understand the issues facing the city of Davenport and I have practical solutions for the challenges we face. Whether it be coaching, working, or volunteering in the community I have proven to be a leader who loves this community and works hard to make it better.
In your estimation, what are the strengths of the city of Davenport?
Davenport’s three biggest strengths are:
- Strong financial principles: With a higher bond rating we have been able to borrow money at a lower interest rate saving taxpayers million in debt service obligations. We have improved our cash reserve balance to over 20% of our annual operational expenditures ensuring that we have enough money in our reserve to protect us from unforeseen hardships.
- We have a strong and vibrant downtown that cities across the country envy.
- We are in a strong position to attract warehousing and manufacturing jobs to Davenport. We have the workforce, the infrastructure, and the available real estate to continue to bring in these two industries from outside of the market.
What are the areas the city of Davenport can improve on?
The three biggest areas that need improvement in Davenport are 1. Poor Infrastructure. We have neglected infrastructure for far too long without adequate funding for maintenance and replacement. In my first term we have implemented a 5-year road maintenance program, started putting state and federal funds toward road replacement rather than building new roads, and we put a record $17.2M dollars into streets. 2. Our central city neighborhoods have fallen into disrepair and need action to be saved. We are currently looking at a comprehensive urban revitalization program that will help us to maintain our central city neighborhoods. 3. Juvenile Crime. We have a juvenile crime problem that needs to be reversed. We have recently hired 8 new police officers and through a Public Safety Fund have funded 4 more. We are looking at a juvenile support services model that would help to work with juveniles, their families, and our local partners to prevent juvenile crime.
What have you identified as priorities or goals should you be elected?
- Improving Sustainable Infrastructure.
- Retaining and Attracting Jobs.
- Maintaining Strong Financial Principles.
- Improved Public Safety.
- Revitalized Urban Neighborhoods.
Davenport’s riverfront is often times referred to as its greatest asset. Is Davenport on the right path to develop a “world-class riverfront?” Do you have a specific vision for what you would like to see or are there certain amenities you would like to incorporate?
It has been frustratingly slow progress on the riverfront but I firmly believe we are on the right path to a world class riverfront. I support the implementation of the Rivervision 2014 plan. We have budgeted $2 million per year in our 5-year budget to make that Rivervision plan come true. Currently I am on the design guideline steering committee for Main Street Landing. We will have the design standards finished by January. We will be able to implement phase 1 of Rivervision during the 2018 construction season and each year after that we will continue to incrementally implement the Rivervision plan. I’m a proponent of an urban lounge, a world class playground, water features, a food truck court and a mixed-use development near the skybridge.
Outside of Main St Landing I support our expansive and unique riverfront from Nahant Marsh, to Credit Island, Veterans Memorial Park, Centennial Park, River Heritage Park, Oneida Landing, and Lindsay Park. I believe that most of the riverfront should be passive and recreational but support mixed use development at Main Street Landing and Oneida Landing. The beauty of our riverfront is how expansive and diverse it is.
Davenport NOW was credited with spurring development at a time when construction was lacking. With the program scheduled to sunset next year, would you support continuing the program, or what modifications would you like to see?
Davenport NOW has been an effective program in incentivizing new home construction in Davenport at a time where that was needed. The market has changed in the past decade and it was the right time to evaluate how we are incentivizing housing in Davenport. I believe that the areas of Davenport that clearly need the incentivizing is the redevelopment of our older neighborhoods. I support a program that more heavily incentivizes redevelopment in our older neighborhoods. I’ve recommended a modified NOW program where the majority of the money incentivizes redevelopment but a small percentage still incentivizes new builds in targeted areas of the city. In addition to the NOW program, or as part of a modified NOW program I would like to see the city divest of vacant properties by selling them to developers or residents for infill development or redevelopment with incentives attached.
Crime, particularly related to juveniles, has continued to be a problem in Davenport. How would you assess the city’s response to the uptick in crime and what other strategies or measures would help in curbing recidivism?
Juvenile crime is a major issue in Davenport and we need to do better. It’s a quality of life issue, it’s an economic development issue, and it’s a public safety issue. It’s also an issue where the answers aren’t clear cut; there are no silver bullets. If there were, cities across the country would be implementing them. The following are things we have done to combat crime and specifically juvenile crime:
- We took a FY 2017 budget surplus and started a self-funded Public Safety Fund. This will put two additional police officers in our NETS program and two additional officers in our schools.
- We put together a blue-ribbon panel for public safety where we have done a comprehensive study on our public safety delivery so we can better understand what we are doing well, what we aren’t doing well, and what we need to be doing differently.
- We have focused on neighborhood programs and community policing. We’ve worked with the Davenport Community School Districts, local non-profits, and neighborhood groups working on the prevention of crime.
Something I would like to see done in the next two years is a Juvenile Support Services program. These have seen successful in other communities and I think that it would work in ours. We have a large number of support services for youth and their families. These groups all serve specific functions but aren’t necessarily tied together. When a juvenile is arrested they would go through the Juvenile Support Services to be evaluated for the services that they need to prevent them from reoffending. This model is a non-profit model that serves as a conduit between the different services.