It’s not over… yet.
That’s what neighbors as well as leaders at Saint Ambrose University are saying on Thursday, July 17th, 2014 after Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba vetoed the school’s plans to build a stadium and sports complex on Wednesday, July 16th, 2014.
The plan includes a 2,500-seat stadium and sports complex on the St. Vincent Center property near the corner of West Central Park Avenue and Marquette Street.
However, those who live around the area say they are concerned about a number of issues, including water runoff and traffic.
“We have enough problems with water runoff, the sewer, and everything else so we don’t need anymore hard surfaces over here,” said Jackie Draper, who has lived near the property for more than 20 years. “That grass is all we have over there that actually takes up the water runoff. It saves us from Mother Nature.”
“I’m afraid that we’re going to get taxed for that if they try to put in streets going in or out of that place, because there’s no way they can go through the neighborhood,” said Anna Snyder, who has lived near the property for more than 60 years.
Those issues were also brought up by Mayor Gluba in his statements and interviews with the media on Wednesday.
“It’s all about protecting neighborhoods and I stand with the neighbors,” he told News 8. “I mean, I’m not afraid to make decisions. I respect St. Ambrose. I am a graduate of Assumption and St. Ambrose, but you do have to look out for the public in general and neighbors in particular.”
Neighbors call the veto a “win” for their fight, but leaders at St. Ambrose say it’s disappointing.
“We’ve spent a lot of time studying this complex, designing this complex, and we’ve received approvals throughout,” said Mike Poster, Vice President of Finance for St. Ambrose. “We meet all of the city ordinances. In fact, we far exceed most of them.”
While neighbors have concerns if the stadium is built, Poster has concerns if it is not built.
“I think a lot of schools are struggling and the reason they’re struggling is because they’re not growing,” he said.
“Having a stadium like this will allow us to stay competitive and by staying competitive that means that we can continue to have the economic impact that we have on the Quad Cities.”
St. Ambrose has approximately 650 employees and 3,600 students. Poster says that translates to a $200 million economic impact, but every year the competition gets tougher.
“We have great academic programs,” said Poster. “We have outstanding facilities here for residents and great learning environments. What we lack are those recreation and athletic facilities that many schools have and that’s why we think this is very important to us.”
Poster says the complex would – literally – even the playing field, but Mayor Gluba and residents say it should go elsewhere.
“They’ve got other options. St. Ambrose can build in another area and I told them I would be glad to try to help if their leadership wants to call me,” Mayor Gluba said. “I’ll do whatever I can to help them in their decision to locate the stadium, but it can’t be in a residential area.”
“I would love to see Ambrose get their own stadium,” said Draper. “I really would. Just not in this area. Not in this spot.”
The decision goes back to Davenport City Council, which is holding a special meeting next Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 at 5pm. The council can override the Mayor’s veto, but they need seven votes. During their last vote on the project, they had six votes.