Davenport reportedly spends millions in COVID-19 recovery funds for downtown ‘destination playground’ | Politics and Elections
“Is this the right thing to plan,” as the city faces a potential deficit of $ 2 million, Alderman Ben Jobgen, Ward 6, said he spent $ 6 million to design and build a “Games” Outdoor ‘adventure and lawn’ included in city plans for the Main Street Landing project located south of the tracks, east of the Skybridge.
Jobgen contends that the project does not meet the eligibility criteria established for the use of federal dollars. The criteria state that the money should be invested in projects that: respond to the public health emergency or its negative economic impacts on affected residents, businesses and industries; compensate for decreases in income due to COVID-19; or support infrastructure projects related to water, sewage or broadband.
Gripp, however, pointed to revised US Treasury guidelines that “investments in parks, plazas and other public outdoor recreation spaces can be made in response to the needs of disproportionately affected communities by promoting environments healthier living and outdoor recreation and socialization to mitigate the spread of COVID-19[FEMININE”[FEMININE”
“So it’s absolutely a permitted use,” said Gripp, who called criticism of the city investing millions in the parks “an oversimplification.”
“The city is investing in neighborhoods that have seen decades of divestment,” he said. “The city is investing in crime prevention. … The city is investing in the economic development of West Davenport. And we are investing in the long-term sustainability of our central neighborhoods.