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New jobs and $500,000-plus investment could be coming to Davenport's Hilltop village
DAVENPORT

New jobs and $500,000-plus investment could be coming to Davenport's Hilltop village

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The city of Davenport intends to apply for a state grant to help finance the planned redevelopment of a Hilltop Campus Village business.

Davenport aldermen met as a Committee of the Whole on Wednesday and advanced a resolution supporting the city's application for an up to $100,000 grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority to assist with the planned acquisition and redevelopment of the former Greatest Grains building at 1600 Harrison St.

The building was recently purchased by Constance and Lonnie Westerfield, who plan to expand their Hilltop Campus Village business Celebrity Styles.

The Westerfields have operated Celebrity Styles in the Hilltop Campus Village for a decade and have outgrown their current location on Brady Street, according to city officials.

In addition to expanding their business, the building will also house Woke Coffee, which will serve organic smoothies and feature a juice bar, according to the resolution, which will come back before council for final approval next week.

City officials anticipate the project, which includes a projected investment of more than $500,000 will add 10 to 15 new jobs and "reactivate this critical vacant property in the Hilltop area," according to the resolution.

Applications for the state grant funding are due April 16, and decisions are expected to be announced June 1, according to a city memo.

Matching or in-kind assistance from the community is required and would be satisfied by the city's Urban Revitalization Tax Exemption and possible awards through the city's Commercial DREAM and Small Business Development programs.

In other business:

  • City Council members also held a public hearing on a resolution approving a 10-year lease with the Friends of Martin Luther King Jr. for the land at the northeast corner of 5th and Brady for the planned MLK Park. The park will be used for a wide range of programming activities regarding cultural awareness and education as well as serving as a regional tourism destination. 

    Roughly six years ago, the city council conceptually approved the splitting of a half block of vacant land at the location. The eastern two-thirds of the half-block was conveyed to Newbury Development in 2015 for a new housing project that was completed in early 2017, and included space on the first floor on the west side of the building for the MLK Interpretive Center.

    The rest of the block was to be either conveyed or leased to the Friends of MLK for the planned MLK Park.

    The COVID-19 pandemic slowed progress, but the city and Friends of MLK have now finalized a draft lease for consideration, and Friends of MLK has unveiled revised plans for the space. 

    "We think it’s spectacular, and the Downtown Davenport Partnership is looking at contributing funding to the construction of this," said DDP Executive Director Kyle Carter. "We are eager partners in this, and will leverage a bigger, better thing. We have one thing in front of us today that is wonderful, and we can pursue many others as well." 

    Some residents spoke of the need to develop other sites in the city honoring, celebrating and recognizing black history in Davenport and the contributions of other African-Americans.

  • Council members also endorsed a new 10-year lease agreement with Main Street Iowa, LLC, the Quad Cities River Bandits' ownership group, for the use of Modern Woodmen Park. 

    The Quad Cities River Bandits recently finalized a 10-year agreement with the Kansas City Royals to become the advanced-A affiliate of the Royals, accepting an invitation from the American League club to become part of its player development system beginning this season.

    The River Bandits' home opener is set for May 11 against Cedar Rapids.

    The proposed lease calls for an annual lease payment of $150,000 per year, and requires the city allocate $136,500 annually for stadium improvements, which would increase to $186,500 in fiscal year 2024.

    "The whole goal of this was to ensure that baseball stays; to ensure Modern Woodmen Park is a viable and wonderful stadium ... and ensure our facility is a state-of-the-art place that we all love," said Mayor Mike Matson.

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