Riverfront in Davenports sits without a plan

DAVENPORT, Iowa - It's a question of what could have been - a plan for a floating brewery and bar along the Davenport riverfront, rejected by the city council.

"They're waiting for a better Christmas present. I've been around council long enough to know that may be a long wait," Davenport Third Ward Alderman Bill Boom said.

Boom thought the plan for the space that used to hold the Rhythm City riverboat was a fantastic idea, something that would've brought a lot of attention from people on land and water, but he was on the losing end.

"I really needed something to be spectacular on that barge in order to keep it. The feedback I got from the general public was it is good, but it wasn't spectacular. So, we decided to move on," Davenport Alderman-at-Large Kyle Gripp said.

They're moving on from a proposal from a proven developer, something Boom still can't understand.

"Wow, to me, was that we had a private developer willing to spend their money, willing to invest again in Davenport. They have a couple hundred million dollars in investments on the ground, so they're not going to do a bad job," Boom said.

Gripp says that keeping the barge in tact doesn't fit into the RiverVision plan the city uses to map out the best use for the area, so now his attention is turning to an idea that can go on land.

"We want to have a really nice park space, and we want to have a commercial mixed-used development," Gripp said.

It's another point where Boom disagrees, saying the plan from Restoration St. Louis was a great fit into their vision for the riverfront.

"I don't think they're interpreting it accurately. It talked about having a main street landing. That is what we had, and will have no more," Boom said.

Now, the council goes back to the beginning.

"We've got to find different revenue sources to make that investment, but it will happen," Gripp said.

However, others are carrying skepticism moving forward.

"I don't know if the council understood what they had, and I'm not sure they know what they want," Boom said.

There were other ideas unofficially thrown out as possibilities for the space, but both Boom and Gripp say they'd require more city involvement, both in man power and money, something they're trying to avoid.

As it stands now, the council doesn't have any presentations scheduled that would show off any new ideas for the riverfront area, but they hope to review more plans by the beginning of 2017.