Plans for a St. Ambrose University stadium and sports complex are currently on hold, as Davenport City Council members upheld Mayor Bill Gluba’s veto of the project.
City Council members had given third approval to a rezoning request for the project on July 9, 2014. One week later, Gluba struck down the council’s decision with a veto.
On Wednesday, August 13, 2014, aldermen held a special meeting to decide whether or not they would overturn the mayor’s veto. Members voted 6-4 in favor of the project, failing to reach the supermajority needed to override a veto.
Jason Gordon, Gene Meeker, Bill Edmond, Bill Boom, Jeff Justin, and Kerri Tompkins were in favor of the development, while Rick Dunn, Ray Ambrose, Barney Barnhill, and Mike Matson voted against it.
Wednesday’s meeting was once again standing room only, as more than 40 people took the podium to voice their support and concerns over the project.
Neighbors opposed to the stadium left the meeting feeling “exhilarated.”
“I don’t have the words, I’m just so excited,” said Jackie Draper. “It’s been such a long five years. I really didn’t think it would come to this.”
Debate over the a stadium and sports complex, though, is likely far from over. Saint Ambrose’s vice president of finance, Mike Poster, said the school would now step back and reassess all other options.
“The thing that is disappointing to us is that as we listen to the reasons that people are against this, we’ve addressed all those issues. We met and significantly exceed many of the city requirements,” said Poster.
Ambrose may soon begin discussions with Assumption High School. The university confirmed Wednesday that it had a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Assumption to consider working together to build a stadium, thus avoiding any city rezoning requirements, should the veto stand.
“It’s really an agreement that we will work with them to look a potential development. But that’s one of many options we’ll look at,” said Poster.
After the vote, Mayor Gluba said that the decision showed “the public can beat City Hall.” He acknowledged, though, that his veto had angered many people in the city.
“It’s pretty clear it’s cost me a lot of public support. But I think you’ve gotta put principle ahead of politics, and that’s been my way pretty much all my life, and I’m not changing that. I learned that at St. Ambrose University,” said Gluba.