The Downtown Davenport Partnership (DDP) celebrated accomplishments of fiscal year 2022 and highlighted resilience, new programs and continued private investment during its annual meeting Tuesday morning, June 28.

“Following three years headlined by flooding and a global pandemic, we’ve demonstrated our resilience downtown. The strong foundations built over the last decade led to an incredible 15 projects and $31 million invested by our downtown community in 2021-2022,” DDP executive director Kyle Carter said in a news release. 

Recent investments include:

  • 15 completed projects reflect $31 million of new investment
  • 8 projects are under construction representing $56 million of additional investment
  • $27 million in planned projects are still on the horizon for future years
  • $658+ million has been invested downtown since 2000

DDP, an affiliate of Quad Cities Chamber, provides place management services for downtown Davenport’s business improvement district (Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District, or SSMID). Its focus encompasses three pillars of work: business & economic growth, infrastructure & livability, and advocacy & promotion.

Davenport Mayor Mike Matson speaks at the DDP annual meeting Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at the Hotel Blackhawk Gold Room (photo by Jonathan Turner).

Guided by the Downtown Master Plan accepted by the City of Davenport in 2021, DDP is seeking to make downtown a more sustainable, vibrant and inclusive destination. In its first year of implementation, 75% of the short-term (2021-2023) master plan initiatives were completed. 

“There was a lot of planning, budgeting and funding going on behind the scenes and now a lot of those plans are coming to life. For instance, we’ve made a big, tangible impact on livability and infrastructure improvements this year. We’ve moved mountains,” Carter said.

Here are some of the FY 2022 successes discussed at DDP’s annual meeting:

New investment

  • Highlights of projects completed this year include400 River, Daiquiri Factory, Davenport Bank Apartments, DoubleTree Hotel, Mississippi River Distilling Co., Robert Wolfe Antiques, Tapestry Farms and Urbane 210.
  • In all, there were 21 new, retained or expanded business downtown.
  • Assessed property values within the SSMID have increased from $109 million in 2010 to $186 million today.
  • Projects under construction include Federal Point, KAHL/Capitol Theatre, a new building at 3rd & Main streets and multiple historic property renovations. 

Western corridor redevelopment

  • The Downtown Master Plan identified a need for new investment in downtown’s western corridor and the gateway neighborhood adjacent to the Centennial Bridge.
  • In the past fiscal year nine of the properties sold within or adjacent to the SSMID were located between Gaines and Harrison, with a cluster near Gaines Street, sparked by the demolition of the former YMCA building and future redevelopment opportunities.

Grant assistance & business ecosystem

  • To foster a more equitable and diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem while locating more businesses downtown, DDP launched its Entrepreneur Grant and awarded ISA Balloon Design & More $5,000.
  • DDP also launched a new Architectural Design Grant fund this year to aid businesses proposing new projects in the district.
  • In addition, DDP awarded $58,000 in façade improvement grants to seven properties which leveraged $582,000 in private investment.
  • DDP also awarded $20,000 in commercial interior improvement grants to two downtown businesses leveraging $133,000 in private investment.

Flood mitigation

  • In 2021, the City of Davenport completed a flood mitigation plan for Davenport’s entire nine-mile riverfront, something downtown businesses and property owners advocated after the historic 2019 flood.
  • The first project to begin next year is underground sewer improvements near downtown’s River Drive eastern gateway which will help maintain critical vehicle access to the downtown up to a 21-foot river crest.  

Livability & infrastructure

  • DDP was a partner in Kaiserslautern Square’s renovation and expansion of the Alternating Currents festival.
  • It remains a strong advocate for approval and implementation of two-way traffic calming measures on 3rd and 4th Streets.
  • Streetscape projects completed this fiscal year include the 100-200 block of E. 2nd Street, electric grid upgrades on 3rd Street between Ripley and Harrison streets, and lighting improvements on Iowa Street and 5th street.
  • DDP doubled the number of Cleaning Ambassadors and hired a Community Navigator to connect people experiencing homelessness, mental health and substance abuse issues to social service partners.
  • Downtown housing units reached a total of 1,679 this past year with three key buildings opening and another 296 units now under construction. Market-rate housing occupancy is 96%, a level that is fully recovered from the flood of 2019 and the impacts of COVID.

Looking ahead, Carter believes there will be additional investment in both the western and eastern gateways of downtown along with a higher level of activation and investment in the core and riverfront. Iowa’s recently announced Destination Iowa grants may provide an opportunity for the community to increase and expedite that work.

Projects planned for FY 2023 include streetscaping in the 100 block of 3rd Street and the resurfacing of 2nd Street and DDP is contributing $20,000 to a neighborhood survey project initiated by Friends of MLK, Inc. to uncover and record the history and the stories of downtown Black-owned businesses.