Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch responds to frustrated business owners who say their livelihood is in jeopardy after the flood of 2019.
It’s been more than a month and a half since water broke through the HESCO barriers in davenport. Now several businesses are struggling to recover.
The Downtown Davenport Business Coalition sent a letter to the city asking for more help.
“We had 20 pumps going at a time and these are our offices that got all ripped up. ” Scott Ryder, owner of Exit Realty in downtown Davenport, is one of the businesses feeling the brunt of the rebuilding period. Losing thousands in the process.
“We’ve spent about a quarter million dollars remodeling the building and a good portion of that has been washed away,” says Ryder. He says business has been slow, and he hasn’t seen or heard much from the city since the HESCO barrier breach or since the closed-door meeting the city had with businesses. “We haven’t heard of anything since that meeting a few weeks ago and that meeting was basically just to make sure you’re rebuilding in the right way,” he shares.
In an open letter from the Downtown Davenport Business Coalition, one of the things they’re asking for is transparency and more communication stating, ” Dodging our calls and e-mails, as well as avoiding interviews with the media, will not make this problem go away, adding, ” city officials have a duty to be accountable to the public at large.” Mayor Klipsch tells Local 4 News they’ve been doing just that.
“People were communicated through this. It may not have been the city administrator but different staff were communicating with all the parties that were involved,” says the mayor.
Business owner Ryder says he’d like to see more action, sharing what he thinks would help.”I’d love to see some kind of program or something or a loan interest loan or something more like that.”
The coalition is also asking for written protection for both privately-owned businesses and public assets.
As well as specifics on what protection will be used when and where.Mayor Klipsch says an upgraded flood protection plan is underway.
“We’re going to do the best that we possibly can and learn from this past flood. Also, upgrade our flood protection plan, develop a task force to look at what the long term protection is and make sure everyone is evolved in that process.”
The coalition also ask that the city include two coalition members on the flood task force.
Business owner Scott Ryder says he will be joining the Downtown Davenport Business Coalition after Tuesday. He hopes something is done quickly before it’s too late for businesses.