Delayed Departure: Riverboat Won’t Leave Until Saturday Afternoon

DAVENPORT, Iowa – It's not going as planned along the Davenport riverfront.

The new owners of the Treble Clef, the actual name of the Rhythm City Casino riverboat, now say the boat won't leave the Quad Cities for Tennessee as early as first thought.

The original plan was for a 2 p.m. departure on Black Friday, November 25.  That was pushed to 8 p.m.

Now, the captain who is taking charge tells News 8 the departure is set for Saturday, November 26 at 2 p.m. at the soonest.

It is leaving without the fanfare it saw when it first arrived.

"It's a piece of nostalgia," says Davenport resident Kevin Barnier who came out Friday afternoon expecting to see the boat's departure.

"Not looking forward to leave but excited about what might be coming to take its place."

It's been quite a ride.

Casino gambling on the riverfront started 25-years ago as an attempt to create economic growth in an area hard hit by the agriculture recession of the 1980s.

"The great news is there's been a tremendous amount of redevelopment in downtown Davenport," said Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch.

That's allowed each of the three Quad City boats to leave and allow land based casinos to replace them.

Jumer's Casino Rock Island was the first to leave the riverfront in 2008.   Then this year, within weeks of each other this summer, both the Rhythm City and the Isle of Capri opened multi-million dollar resorts off the water's edge.

"We knew this was a time for a change," said Mayor Klipsch.

The Rhythm City departure leaves a lot of opportunities for the Davenport riverfront.   Asphalt parking lots are already being torn out to make room for green space.   And what replaces the boat will be a big discussion in the weeks ahead.

"Whatever is going to take its place, just something that for everyone to enjoy down here by the water."

The Treble Clef is heading to Tennessee where investors say it will be refurbished into a floating restaurant.