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Vision Iowa Begins Funding Negotiations

Davenport, Wayland Seeking CAT Grants for Civic Improvement Projects

Dave DeWitte

The Gazette

July 13, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by The Gazette, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of The Gazette.]

    A $65.9 million riverfront redevelopment plan in Davenport and a community exercise track in Wayland have been accepted to begin negotiations for state Community Attraction and Tourism Fund grants.

    Davenport is seeking $13.8 million in CAT funding for RiverVision, a coordinated effort between Rock Island, Ill., and Davenport to capitalize on their shared Mississippi River waterfronts.

    The project is designed to visually orient the two cities toward the river and link them across the river. The first phase will include construction of a waterfront pier, conversion of a historic freight house into a public farmers market, modernizing existing park land, and creating public recreational space.

    Eventually, the project calls for a water taxi between the cities, large river fountains aligned with the main streets of both downtowns, and a series of piers reaching out across the river.

    The board agreed to negotiate for the Davenport project in hopes it will generate a wave of private investment in downtown Davenport, according to Vision Iowa Board Chairman Andy Anderson.

    He said the project could have the potential to transform perceptions of Davenport’s riverfront in the way that the America’s River project transformed Dubuque’s riverfront.

    ‘‘We will explore in negotiations how this will leverage other things right in that corridor along the riverfront park,’’ Anderson said.

    Wayland, a city of about 950 in northwest Henry County, is seeking $100,000 toward the $290,655 cost of an all-weather walking and running track to be built in conjunction with WACO Community School.

    Negotiations to establish levels of state and local funding are expected to begin at the next monthly meeting of the Vision Iowa Board, according to Iowa Department of Economic Development spokeswoman Tonja Richards. The negotiations on the Davenport project may take longer than one meeting because of the project’s scale.

    Two other projects are in negotiations for CAT grants. They are the Wartburg-Waverly Wellness Center in Waverly and Richland Community Center in Richland.

    At its meeting Wednesday, the Vision Iowa Board also approved a $250,000 grant for a public library and community center project in Rockwell City. The community of 2,116 people about 25 miles southwest of Fort Dodge had sought $323,555 toward the $2.5 million project.