THROWBACK THURSDAY: When the casino boat ruined the view

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This is a story from the WQAD News 8 archives from August 1999 by reporter Jim Mertens.

DAVENPORT, Iowa – Davenport has had a riverboat casino on its riverfront since 1991.  But by the end of that decade, Davenport had two: one was the old "President Mississippi" riverboat, the other was the one that replaced it, the "Treble Clef", home to the "Rhythm City Casino".

One was wanted, the other no longer was.

But before the old boat, nicknamed the "Vice President", could leave, it had to dock temporarily in the Quad Cities.

But weeks turned to months and Davenport businesses near the Lock and Dam were starting to complain.

The owners of downtown Davenport's Clarion Hotel say they're proud of the $4 million dollars renovating each and every room.   But even they couldn't change the view from the suite in room 602.

Or way over in the other suite, that's room 620.

"This is the last room they want to see a view.  Where is the view?"

Nor down three floors, that's room 312.

"It's every single room.  It doesn't matter which window you go.  It's the same."

Every river view window at this River Drive hotel has a picture window picture of the unused Vice President Riverboat.  And customers at the Clarion have noticed.

"They say I would not pay this money if I knew that there's this boat blocking my view," said an owner.

"That's why I'm here, just to experience the view on the river," said Louis Fisher.

Fisher is from Pasadena, California.  He checked in to the Clarion this week for a Quad City convention.

The hotel markets its riverfront location to out-of-towners who are expecting a view.

"When we do that, there's this boat sitting over her that is empty," said the front desk clerk.  "And at night it's just a big blob sitting there."

The boat hasn't been abandoned, it's maintained by the casino and The President pays the city's Levee Commission almost 11-hundred bucks a month to dock here.   It works well for the President because it's near the roller dams and out of the way of boat and barge traffic.

But it's in the way of some sightseers.

"Both the Levee Commission and the City Council have got reservations about it staying there and we might have to find another deep pool location for it if but not the right spot," said then-Mayor Phil Yerington.

That's an understatement for those who bought a hotel with no view.

"That's a lot of money and hear them complain, that's not good," said the owner.

And the problem wouldn't be quickly resolved.

It was delayed for departure to Missouri as gaming officials stalled on a decision to allow it to come to the St. Louis area.

The boat wouldn't leave the Quad Cities until the Spring of 2000.

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