The Bettendorf Business Network as Advocate for Downtown Businesses

Construction of a new I-74 bridge across the Mississippi River, linking Bettendorf and Moline, will not begin until roughly 2019 with a completion date expected five years later or near 2024. Purchase and demolition of property in the bridge right-of-way have begun. To accommodate the new bridge, Bettendorf streets, especially State and Grant, will undergo an extensive realignment process, creating additional and significant changes in the downtown area.

Many downtown Bettendorf businesses will be directly affected by the bridge project. Some businesses owners have closed or sold their business, while others have chosen to relocate to different areas in Bettendorf or Davenport. Others may experience business disruption.

The combined impact of street alignment and bridge construction raises significant issues for businesses in and near the construction area. Businesses forced to relocate must decide, whether to move to another site or close their operation. Additionally, businesses, choosing the relocation option, need to determine whether or not to remain in or leave the downtown area.

A second consideration relates to the viability of the business district itself, during the long construction cycle. Customers may chose to avoid navigating the construction zone and decide to shop elsewhere in the Quad Cities. A loss of attractive ambiance and ease of access to downtown businesses could be the unavoidable consequence of the construction process.

Bridge construction and street realignment for business owners necessitate an ongoing interaction and dialogue with federal, state and city governments and their administrators. Changes in government policy, construction schedules and administrative personnel ought to be expected during the project and will undoubtedly impact the project and area businesses.

The Bettendorf Business Network intends to provide the opportunity and means for businesses to speak with a unified voice to bring their needs to public and governmental attention. A single business owner may have difficulty both managing a business and staying informed of ongoing developments in the ten year long bridge building process.

Specially, the Bettendorf Business Network proposes to establish, for the benefit of its’ members, a Downtown District Business Council, as a venue for discussion and advocacy of business needs and priorities, particularly related to the bridge project.

A Downtown Business District Council (DBDC) will not only focus on construction related issue, but also be an advocate for a long term vision for downtown development. The council will be concerned with the appearance and economic vitality of downtown Bettendorf.

Additionally, the DBDC proposes to explore the possible creation of a public/private entity with the power and financial resources necessary to envision and implement a comprehensive development plan for the downtown business district.

The Bettendorf Business Network will work to provide voice, value and vision for it’s downtown Bettendorf members. This effort is fully consistent with our goals to help individual businesses succeed, create a vibrant business environment and advocate for civic improvements.