Sketch of apartments proposed for Twin Bridges Motor Inn site.

New ice-skating rink to cost city $447,000; includes $20,000 for 'festive' artificial Christmas tree

The full cost of the new, temporary Bettendorf ice-skating rink will balloon to nearly $450,000 once the annual operating expenses and a $20,000 artificial Christmas tree are included in the pricetag.

The city council is expected to sign off on the anticipated $137,000 in operating costs and 30-foot artificial tree at its Tuesday (12/6) meeting. The city had earlier approved acquisition of chiller equipment and other ice rink furnishings (including a supply of used ice skates) for $250,000.

Isle 2nd quarter earnings double last year's results; big tax benefit on asset sales offsets revenue decline

Thanks to a $17.8-million income tax benefit, Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. Thursday (12/1) reported second quarter earnings of $23.7 million (57 cents per share), more than double the gambling firm's earnings for the same quarter last year.

Consultant: Invest $1.8 million for new six-hole pitch-and-putt and grass putting courses to keep city owned Palmer Hills Golf Course competitive

Bettendorf's Palmer Hills Golf Course needs a $1.8-million upgrade – including a new six-hole pitch-and-putt and a grass mini-putt course – to attract younger golfers seeking a less expensive and time-consuming experience than the traditional 18-hole layout.

That's the recommendation made to the park board and city council recently by Richard Singer of National Golf Foundation (NGF) Consulting.

Bettendorf alderman submits resignation effective year-end; Mohr elected to state senate in November

Bettendorf Alderman Gary Mohr will step down from his at-large council seat Dec. 31 following his election to the Iowa Senate in last November's general election.

The resignation creates a one-year vacancy, which can be filled by either an interim appointment by the council or by a special election.

In accepting Mohr's resignation letter at its Nov. 15 meeting, the council did not discuss which method the city would choose to fill the opening.

Interest rates on bonds to finance Bettendorf's capital improvements come in higher than expected; post-election expectations cited as factor in hike

The election of Donald Trump may have many meanings around the country, but in Bettendorf one of the most immediate impacts will be higher interest rates on new city debt.

And, that translates into higher costs for the coming slate of capital improvements, ranging from a new $250,000 ice-skating rink to $1.4 million in downtown redevelopment to $700,000 for a Great Lawn in the new Forest Grove Park.

The higher interest rates also prompted the city to scrap a $28-million General Obligation (GO) bond refinancing plan, at least temporarily.

Group issues scathing report on EPA, states' efforts to reduce nutrient pollution of Mississippi River; cites 2015 'close call' involving QC water supply

Voluntary initiatives by the U.S. EPA and 10 states bordering the Mississippi over the past 20 years have largely failed to rein in harmful nitrogen and phosphorus pollution by cities, farms and industry, according to a scathing report issued today (11/17) by an environmental and legal group focused on protecting the Mississippi River watershed.

"Though the EPA has consistently and emphatically urged states to take measures to combat nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, its encouragement has come without enforceable regulations, specific deadlines or funding for implementation," the report by the Mississippi River Collaborative says. "Not surprisingly, the problem persists, especially in the Mississippi River, despite a variety of Clean Water Act tools and viable regulatory options available to states."

The analysis of nutrient pollution of lakes, rivers and streams in the Mississippi River watershed – entitled "Decades of Delay" – says the 10 states bordering the country's longest river have failed to establish any numeric limits for nitrogen discharges and only two states have set numeric limits for phosphorus pollution.

Commercial development finally arrives at highly visible Crow Creek and Middle Road intersection

The long vacant and highly visible southeast corner of Middle and Crow Creek Roads would be developed into a retail hub with a drive-up bank, restaurant and offices under a plan approved by Bettendorf planners and set for city council approval Tuesday (11/1).

AMF Realty, owned by the same company that has developed the Wyndham Hills subdivisions on both sides of Middle Road south of Crow Creek, is seeking approval to build Wyndham Town Center with four commercial buildings at the busy intersection.

Bettendorf poised to approve 20-year TIF, $750,000 forgivable loan to entice Twin Bridges redevelopment

A Des Moines developer would tear down the deteriorated Twin Bridges Motor Inn in downtown Bettendorf and construct two five-story apartment buildings worth a total of $22 million under a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) deal worked out with city officials.

The development agreement would provide Twin Bridges Associates LP, a unit of Newberry Living, with a $750,000 forgivable loan and rebate 100 percent of the incremental property taxes from the 135-unit apartment project for 20 years.

At the current tax rate, the 20-year TIF would be worth approximately $12 million. The property currently is assessed at $799,780 and pays $24,139 annually in property taxes.

[The public hearing on the TIF and forgiveable loan is on the Tuesday, Dec. 6 city council meeting agenda.]

City administrator, five council members rack up $684 food tab at swank Des Moines restaurant

After hearing presentations on "The Leadership Role for City Officials" at the annual Iowa League of Cities conference in September, Bettendorf's city administrator and five aldermen adjourned for dinner at the 801 ChopHouse Restaurant, a downtown Des Moines steakhouse "modeled after the classic New York steakhouses of the 1920's," according to its website. Very expensive also would describe the restaurant.

Isle sells Marquette casino to employee-owned gambling firm, CQ Holdings, Inc. for $40 million

Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. said today (10/13) it has agreed to sell its Marquette, Iowa casino to CQ Holdings, Inc. for $40 million, less an adjustment for working capital.

The deal with CQ Holdings' affiliate Casino Queen is specifically permitted under the agreement announced September 19 in which the Isle agreed to be acquired by Eldorado Resorts, of Reno, Nevada, in a $1.7 billion transaction, according to the company's news release.

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