Rendering of new $9-million Ascentra Credit Union headquarters proposed for part of city's Town Square block. Source: Legat Architects

An architectural rendering of one of three retail/commercial buildings proposed for the northwest corner of Forest Grove and Middle Roads, Bettendorf, part of the sports complex under construction at that same location.

A Great Blue Heron rests on a log in the Mississippi River above Lock & Dam 15, Davenport on a foggy fall morning.

Construction work on support piers for the new Interstate 74 bridge between Bettendorf and Moline now is under way.

City/Isle deal to end tax dispute; city gets $652,000 and schools, county may finally see tax boost

The tax dispute between the city of Bettendorf and the Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. would be resolved under a development agreement deal expected to be approved tonight (11/17) by the city council.

The Isle has been seeking to lower the assessed value of its riverfront property to $45 million from the current $85 million. An appraiser hired by the city valued the Isle's two hotels and riverboat casino at $55 million. The county review board in June rejected the Isle's tax appeal, but the casino operator then filed suit in Scott County District Court.

Downtown urban planners urge city use of Town Square block for civic events and activities

The so-called Town Square block along State Street in downtown Bettendorf should be used as originally envisioned – as an open plaza for civic events and activities – a team of urban planners from the Iowa Downtown Resource Center told city officials in early October.

The planning experts' recommendation is in stark contrast to two development proposals currently being considered by the city council. Both call for creation of mixed use commercial/residential development with parking on the block between 20th and 21st Streets between State and Grant Streets.

City appraiser pegs value of Isle casino property at $55 million; stage set for court hearing on tax issue

An appraiser hired by the city of Bettendorf pegs the value of the Isle of Capri Casino and its two hotels at $55.15 million. The Isle contends the property is worth just $44 million.

Unfortunately for the city, both estimates are far below the current assessed value – $85 million – agreed to by the Isle under terms of the casino/city development agreement signed when the QC Waterfront Convention Center was built.

Emails indicate mayor, city administrator pushed TIF's for downtown apartments for past year

For more than a year, Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher and City Administrator Decker Ploehn have been telling their economic development staff and developers they would support use of city tax incentives for projects involving downtown apartments.

In emails obtained by bettendorf.com through a Freedom of Information request, both Gallagher and Ploehn were focused on redevelopment of eight apartment buildings in the downtown known collectively as the Carling Apartments.

Lee touts cost reductions at lender confo; decline reflects 44% reduction in employment since 2007

Lee Enterprises executives touted their 39 percent reduction in costs since 2007 at an Arizona lenders' conference last month, a decline which tracks the steady decline in employment at the Davenport-based firm from more than 8,100 to just over 4,500 full-time employees.

The presentation at Deutsche Bank's Leveraged Finance Conference September 29 may have helped contribute to recent gains in the price of its stock, which has climbed nearly a dollar per share since hitting a 52-week low of $1.36 per share Sept. 10.

Town Square mushrooms into 3-block development with city contributing $8 million to $15 million

The one-block Town Square idea kicked around by Bettendorf aldermen this spring has now mushroomed into a three-block downtown makeover with city taxpayers expected to contribute from $8 million to $15 million in land donations, interest rate buy-downs and developer tax rebates.

The two competing Town Square project proposals – from Russell Companies, Davenport, and Newbury Living, Des Moines – also call for obtaining state housing tax credits to help pay for either senior- or workforce-housing that would be built as part of the redevelopment.

Cricket Hollow Zoo lawsuit gets underway in federal court this week; bench trial expected to last a week

Testimony begins Monday (10/5) in a federal lawsuit seeking to remove endangered animals from the troubled Cricket Hollow Zoo near Manchester, Iowa.

The lawsuit by the Animal Defense Legal Fund (ADLF) and two Iowa residents alleges Cricket Hollow Zoo owners Pamela and Tom Sellner provide poor care for five tigers, three lemurs and two grey wolves on display at the roadside facility.

The bench trial before Chief Magistrate Judge Jon Stuart Scoles in U.S. District Court, Northern District, is expected to last a week.

Grain Processing Corp. air pollution controls appear to be solving Muscatine sulfur dioxide problems

Clean air advocates hailed July 15 as "Clean Air Day for Muscatine" when Grain Processing Corporation (GPC) switched from coal to natural gas to fire its boilers.

The boiler conversion – plus a host of other pollution control improvements at the facility – now appear to be making a big difference in the city's air quality.

Lee sells California newspaper properties for $5 million; stock continues slides to 52-week low

Davenport-based Lee Enterprises last week announced the sale of its Napa, California newspaper building and property for $5 million, but the strategy to sell assets to pay down debt hasn't stopped the steady decline in the company's stock price.

Lee stock price fell to a new 52-week low Thursday (9/10), closing at $1.47 per share. The company's stock reached $5.42 per share on March 6, 2014, and has since been losing ground. In early August, the stock was just above $3 per share, but has lost half its value in just the past month.

Isle earns $3.1 million in first quarter; Bettendorf gambling boat battered by construction, Illinois slots

The first quarter financial results of Isle of Capri Casino, Inc. drew praise from stock analysts Wednesday (9/2), but its Bettendorf riverboat was noteworthy for just the opposite – falling revenues.

The Isle earned $3.1 million for the first quarter, or 8 cents per share, a turnaround from last year when the gambling firm lost 6 cents per share, or $2.3 million. The St. Louis-based firm also reported a significant increase in net revenues for the period, jumping nearly 5 percent to $260 million, compared to $249.5 million during the same period a year ago.

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