A Vision for the Village: Business Owners React

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Changes are coming for one of Davenport's oldest neighborhoods.

On Thursday, March 14th, 2013, city leaders unveiled their Master Plan for the Village of East Davenport. The 100-page plan is full of ideas on how to transform the Village from a local shopping spot into a tourist destination and business owners say they're on board.

"I think what makes the Village are the people," says Connie Scott, Owner of The Soap Box, which has been part of the community for 31 years.

On the other side of the Village is Freddy's Fritters, which is celebrating its second year in the area.

"I love the whole feeling of the small businesses down here," says Owner Tami Grady.

Both say they're happy to see the city taking charge.

"The more we can get the city involved in helping us build this and make this into something bigger and better, the better it will be," says Tami.

"To have them come alongside of us and have someone come with a vision for what greater things can go on here is wonderful," says Connie. "That's what the Village needs."

The city's plan includes ideas like giving each road its own role. For example, using the center of Christie Street for festivals, adapting alleys to be a place for pedestrians, and building a boulevard to connect Mound Street to the Mississippi River.

"To me, the more activities that we can get down this direction and connecting the riverfront is part of it, it just makes it a better place to come visit," says Tami.

Tami says she hopes the plan also includes more parking, while Connie says the Village needs more shops.

"We have some opportunities to really bring in some more unique businesses," says Connie.

"The reason I wanted to build a business is because I really had faith in the Village in that it was really going to become something someday," says Tami.

Those hopes have been heard. Now it's time for the Village's vision to be seen.

City leaders say they hope to start implementing their plan immediately after City Council approves it, but they say a lot of the timing will depend on funding.

"People ask - 'How are you going to pay for all this?' It's a variety of sources," says Matt Flynn, Senior Planning Manager with Davenport's Community Planning and Economic Development Department. "It's from the community, private property owners, as well as state and federal grants, too."

The city is still accepting input for the next two weeks before it makes its final presentation to City Council. To send in comment, e-mail Matt at mflynn@ci.davenport.ia.us