Freight House businesses excited for re-opening of River Drive

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Davenport Public Works crews worked to take down HESCO barriers along River Drive.

The city said it was waiting for the Mississippi River to fall below 17.5 feet and show signs of a downward trend. As of June 13th, the Mississippi is sitting just below that -- at 17.47 ft.

The business owners in the Freight House downtown are some of many owners banking on River Drive to re-open. They said the road is essential when it comes to business.

Giovanni Sgro is the co-owner of Antonella's Pizzeria II in the Freight House. He said it's a good thing to see public works crews working rather quickly to open up River Drive.

"We're hoping River Drive at least opens up here within this month," Sgro said. "'Cause that really is our main point. Without the traffic going by we don't get the publicity from up front -- the signs we have up front -- for everybody down here."

Steve Ahrens, with the Riverfront Improvement Commission,  said these businesses have had a rough few months.

"You know there have been a couple of episodes where the water has nearly surrounded the entire building," Ahrens said. "While the businesses have remained open for the most part here at the Freight House, access has been a major issue and that has hurt their businesses."

"It was hard on us because we wanted to open but we couldn't do anything," Sgro said. "Like we want to work, we're here to work. We're here to make money, we're here to serve the community, we're here for all that."

Finally, the Freight House is ready for a wave of business just in time for the Farmer's Market to return to their parking lot this weekend. All thanks to what businesses are calling a much needed clean up crew.

"Without (Public Works) none of this would even be possible. We'd probably be closed down for a little longer," Sgro said.

The Farmers Market will return the the Freight House on Saturday, June 15th opening at 8:00 a.m.

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