Davenport’s proposed budget for the next year includes line items for a few high-profile projects, such as converting 3rd and 4th Streets to two-way traffic, flood mitigation and replacing city buses.
The bulk of the proposed $49.5 million capital budget, however, is set aside for street and sewer repairs, including reconstruction of 3rd and 4th Streets, bridge repairs and sanitary sewer repairs and replacement. The city plans to put $23.2 million into city streets and $7.8 million into the city’s sewer collection system, according to the city’s budget plans.
The city council will vote on the budgets in March.
“It used to be ‘fix the streets; what are you doing?’ Now, it’s ‘How many barricades do I have to go around?’” Mayor Mike Matson said. “I appreciate those comments, but you’re going to see barricade after barricade, and you’re going to see street after street being done with the fund balanced, with a balanced budget, with the city being in a good financial position.”
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On one of the highest profile items: after decades of debate, and several tense meetings in 2022 that resulted in a narrow yes-vote, converting downtown Davenport’s 3rd and 4th Streets to two-way traffic is in the budget for the next fiscal year.
According to a budget presentation Saturday, city staff said the conversion as a whole would cost $2 million with the Downtown Davenport Partnership chipping in $700,000 over a number of years to that total. The project’s estimate has now grown about $300,000 from an initial $1.7 million because traffic signals at Main Street were added into the project, prompted by feedback from the City Council, Assistant Public Works Director Clay Merritt said. The plan converts traffic signals at Iowa, Pershing and Ripley Streets to four-way stops. And traffic signals will be removed at Warren Street and at the intersection of Scott and 3rd Street.
Merritt said the Iowa Department of Transportation “is waiting to see what the specific plans are to comment, but they have not given us any indication that our concept has any issues whatsoever,” in response to a question from Ward 6 Alderman Ben Jobgen about the department’s reaction to the city’s conversion plans.
Converting the traffic signals to allow for two-way traffic between East River Drive and Marquette Street is being done in tangent with a separate $9.5 million project backed by a federal grant to resurface 3rd and 4th Streets between Telegraph Road and Harrison Street. The federal grant funds about $7.26 million of the costs to resurface, and the city is responsible for $2.255 million.
The city is doing the design for the resurfacing and would put out for construction bids in early 2024, Merritt said. Merritt added the city would develop a traffic pattern plan and timeline ahead of construction, which would require review from the granting agency.
“We're pretty early in the stages here of what the staging will be like and what makes sense from a traffic flow perspective,” Merritt told council members. “Once we have that more set in stone, we’ll keep you updated.”
Also included in next fiscal year’s budget
- $4.6 million in 2024 for restoration and resurfacing of high-traffic streets and $4.45 million for neighborhood streets.
- $7.5 million for vehicles and equipment, most of which is going toward a transit replacement program. Armed with a grant, the city plans to replace four buses in its fleet with electric ones, plus three charging stations and equipment.
- Bridge replacement over Duck Creek at North Utah Avenue, on the western outskirts of the city. The replacement, budgeted for fiscal 2024, is expected to cost $1.5 million, with $500,000 of city funds and a $1 million federal grant.
- Modern Woodmen Park is scheduled for about $500,000 worth of repairs and asset replacements in fiscal 2024.
- City Hall is on the docket for an air handler and roof replacement for $600,000 in fiscal 2024.
- Another $1.07 million is budgeted for Davenport’s urban revitalization program, called DREAM, which aims to attract and retain home buyers and entice investment in Davenport’s older neighborhoods.
- $250,000 in 2024 of $650,000 over the next six years for Credit Island park restroom replacement, new windows at Credit Island Lodge and replacing the roof of the warming house and garages.
- $650,000 in fiscal 2024 for new or replaced sidewalks as part of the city’s cost-share sidewalk repair and replacement program. The city plans another $250,000 in fiscal 2024 for new ADA ramps across the city.
- $1 million for flooding improvements, including to the city’s storm sewer infrastructure, in fiscal 2024
- $7.8 million in the city’s sanitary sewer systems: $1.24 million is proposed to be budgeted in 2024 for an annual program to repair failed sanitary and storm sewer mains. The fiscal 2024 capital budget also includes $1.2 million for repairing sanitary sewer lines between the property owner’s home and the city’s sewer main. Homeowners pay a $500 deductible and the city funds up to $10,000 of eligible repairs. City staff said it’s one of the city’s most popular cost-share programs, requiring the city to bump up the funding dedicated to it since its inception. Another sanitary sewer program eliminating inflow and infiltration, is budgeted to receive $2 million in fiscal 2024. A new Duck Creek sewer interceptor extension and a sanitary sewer interceptor replacement are budgeted for $1 million each.
- The city also hopes to complete a comprehensive, system-wide assessment on the city’s watersheds, streams, greenway corridors and flooding potential. About $200,000 is proposed for that assessment.
In the next six years, a new ice rink is scheduled for River’s Edge
Included in the final year of the city’s six-year capital improvement plan, which outlines strategic project funding for the city over six years, is a second ice rink at River’s Edge, a city-owned ice rink and indoor turf facility at 700 W. River Drive.
After feedback from the area’s hockey community about a single ice rink not meeting needs for ice, the city plans to set aside $600,000 in 2029 to convert an existing turf field back to a second sheet of ice at River’s Edge.
A city-commissioned report recommended the change after the Quad-Cities hockey community came out in full force for community feedback. Respondents told the city a single indoor ice rink fails to meet the needs of growing ice hockey and figure skating programs at a time when more indoor soccer fields in the area have sprung up in recent years, most notably in the TBK Bank Sports Complex in Bettendorf. When the city bought the facility in 2010, it had flipped a second ice rink into an indoor turf soccer field. According to the parks director at the time, the National Hockey League-sized rink was used only 4 1/2 months out of the year and was costly to maintain.
Statistics from the city of Davenport show the ice rink is well-used. In fiscal 2022, the ice rink was reserved or used by the public for 1,184 hours. The turf field was reserved or used 485 hours in the same fiscal year.
The city expects River’s Edge to lose about $303,500 in fiscal 2024. City staff plan to review the cost to operate River’s Edge, and adjust admission and rental fees as well as concession prices to better shore up the fund.
Answering a question from an alderman, City Administrator Corri Spiegel said there’s no desire to relocate the facility.
The proposed six-year capital improvement plan includes a budgeted item for a $500,000 roof replacement in 2026 at River’s Edge, replacing the facility’s skate safe flooring for $375,000 in 2027, and adding the second sheet of ice for $600,000 in fiscal 2029.
In future fiscal years:
- The city plans to tackle repairs on three Eastern Avenue bridges between fiscal 2026 and fiscal 2028. The city has budgeted $440,000 for each of two bridges over Goose Creek in fiscal 2027-2028. Another bridge on Eastern Avenue is budgeted to be repaired in 2026-2027 for $2.92 million, of which the city is responsible for $590,000 and a federal grant is expected to cover $2.336 million of the project cost.
- In the next six years, Eastern and Fairmount branches of the Davenport Public Library have roof replacements budgeted.
- $675,000 split between 2025, 2027 and 2029 for improvements at the city’s three golf courses. According to city documents, the next project will be the extension of the Duck Creek cart path.
In 2023 construction season, Davenport will see 'truly transformative projects,' staff say.
According to Merritt, Davenport council members have already approved about $120 million worth of city, state, and federal investment into projects across the city.
“There's some truly transformative projects that are in here,” he said. “In the next one to three years that our community is going to see at a quite frankly at historic level. So this would be my 10th year with the city and I would say probably in that 10 years, I can think of three projects offhand that are single projects that are greater than $9 million. This summer you're going to have four of those going on at the same time.”
Among those projects are flood protections for the Water Pollution Control Plant, a $12.3 million project for which the city received a more than $9 million grant, continuing reconstruction of E. 53rd Street — ($9 million is budgeted for the new phase), continuing construction of Fire Station No. 3 between Harrison and Brady Streets, a $12.2 million project, construction of the Fairmount Community Center, a $3.6 million project, and Main Street Landing, a proposed $16 million riverfront park project with leveraged grant and railroad settlement funding that city leaders hope will be a regional attraction and quality of life amenity.