Davenport Mayor Mike Matson said a young friend recently moved to Davenport from a much larger city and not long after, the new resident said the community is “the coolest place I have ever been” because of its welcoming attitude.
After hearing that, the mayor joked that he tried to recruit the young friend to go around and tell business and community leaders what he thought of Davenport.
“We have to get people here. … Let them see all the stuff (going on) and they will be happy as heck,” the Davenport mayor said during his State of the City address Monday afternoon, May 23, at Rhythm City Casino Resort in Davenport.
During most of his speech, Mr. Matson outlined the programs, partnerships, city finances and economy development projects that are helping Davenport grow.
The central theme was: “Davenport is in a good place. Our budget is squared away and we are moving forward,” he told the QCBJ after the noon luncheon, hosted by the Davenport Rotary Club.
One of the ways Davenport is moving forward is by listening to its residents, Mr. Matson said. He listed the top four priorities as cited by a recent citizen survey as:
- Quality of city streets: 81% of those responding to the survey called it a priority.
- Quality of neighborhoods: 54% of respondents.
- Quality of police services: 46% of respondents.
- Efforts to attract and retain businesses: 38% of respondents.
That top priority – city streets – is getting much attention from the city, Mr. Matson said. In fact, the current year’s infrastructure investments include: $18.9 million for high volume roads; $8.3 million for neighborhood roads; and $7 million for sewers.
The mayor added that the many road improvement projects may be a temporary inconvenience to some drivers, but it is worth it in the long run to create better roads across the city.
“Driving on a road that doesn’t take your tires out is a big deal. … We are going to keep fixing streets,” he added.
Much of his focus also was on economic development projects in the city. Perhaps the largest project in the region is the 640,000-square-foot Amazon Fulfillment Center under construction on the north edge of the city. The Amazon facility is expected to hire 1,000 workers and be open this year.
Mr. Matson also pointed out several smaller business projects underway in the city. For example, there are renovation projects in the works at Tappa’s Steak House at 1620 Rockingham Road, and at Mo Brady’s Steakhouse, located at 4830 N. Brady St.
The mayor also said that riverfront businesses, attractions and housing are vital to the community. He highlighted apartment and building projects such as Urbane 210, the mixed-use apartment building now open at 210 E. Second St., and 400 River, the new apartment building that opened a few weeks ago at 400 W. River Drive. Also, the Mississippi River Distilling Co. will soon expand its operations to East Second Street.
“The riverfront is a focus for us, and it will continue to be a focus,” he added.
In addition to the numerous economic development projects helping expand Davenport, the city also is improving through its many partnerships. Mr. Matson said Davenport’s many partnerships with state and federal groups, business advocates, social justice groups, schools and others are helping keep the city strong and ready for future challenges.
“We might not always agree with each other … but we all work together for the betterment of our community,” he added.