Muscatine one step closer to grant money for proposed development plan

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One of three cities in our area to compete for state money to help with major development projects is moving forward.

Bettendorf and Davenport were beat out by their neighbors down river in Muscatine.

The funds the cities were applying for is part of the Iowa Reinvestment District Program with the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The program provides up to $100 million in new state hotel and motel and sales tax revenues to be reinvested.

Davenport applied for the funds to help build a multimillion-dollar entertainment district off Interstate 80.

Bettendorf wanted the funds to help build an indoor sports complex, a technology business park, a lifestyle center and at least one hotel at I-80 and Middle Road.

Ten Iowa cities applied for the grants, but only three, including Muscatine are moving forward in the process.

In order to move forward, the proposed plans needed to score more than 70 points out of 100. Points were based on uniqueness, economic impact, project feasibility, capital investment, funding leverage, nonretail focus and readiness for development, geographic diversity and funding need.

"I was really tickled we knew we had a good project going in," said Greg Jenkins of the Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Muscatine is requesting $10 million in funds to help build their downtown. The proposed plan includes a downtown hotel, remodeling a vacant retail building into a conference center, adding a 238 space parking ramp and building sky bridges for access between the hotel, events center, and restaurants and bars within the development.

"We have a nice downtown now. I'd like to see it even grow beyond what it is today, that'd be a lot of fun and I think this will help spark that," said Jenkins.

Thursday, leaders of the project will pitch their proposal to the Iowa Economic Development Authority Board. The Board will make the decision on whether or not the project will receive the state funds.

Bettendorf is waiting to see results of a study before they move forward with their project. No word on what Davenport plans to do with their proposed project.