Davenport would spend millions in COVID-19 recovery funds on a downtown ‘destination play area’ | Politics and elections – About Your Online Magazine


“Is it the right thing to plan,” when the city is looking at a potential $2 million deficit, Alderman Ben Jobgen, Ward 6, said of spending a proposed $6 million to design and build an outdoor “Adventure Play & Event Lawn” included in city plans for the Main Street Landing project located south of the railroad tracks, east of the Skybridge.

Jobgen argues the project fails to fit into the eligibility criteria established for use of the federal dollars. The criteria states the money be invested in projects that: respond to the public health emergency or its negative economic impacts to residents, businesses and impacted industries; compensate for revenue reductions due to COVID-19; or support infrastructure projects related to water, sewer, or broadband.

Gripp, though, pointed to revised U.S. Treasury guidance that states “investments in parks, public plazas and other public outdoor recreation spaces may be done responsive to needs to disproportionately impacted communities by promoting healthier living environments and outdoor recreation and socialization to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

“So it is absolutely a permittable use,” Gripp said, who characterized criticism of the city investing millions in parks “a simplification.”

“The city is investing in neighborhoods that have seen decades of disinvestment,” he said. “The city is investing in crime prevention. … The city is investing in economic development in west Davenport. And we’re investing in the long-term sustainability of our central neighborhoods.”

Paula Fonseca