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History | Historic Photos

In 1909 the Iowa Legislature passed a law allowing cities, acting under a special charter, to improve their waterfronts. The law provided for the creation of a Levee Improvement Commission which was done by the Davenport City Council by ordinance in 1911. Also, in 1898 the United State Government, through the Corps of Engineers, established a harbor line along the Mississippi River's edge in Davenport. Since these events occurred, land has been acquired, and property has been filled to create nine miles of publicly-owned riverfront. The land under the jurisdiction of the Commission is south of River Drive and the IC&E Railroad to the centerline of the channel of the Mississippi River, and between the east and west city limits of Davenport.

Even though the Iowa law allowed for the creation of a property tax levy, most of the funds raised in Davenport have come from revenue generated by leasing land to business and industry. Additional funding comes from the City Council approved Capital Improvement Program for specific projects. Therefore, the Commission has two focus areas: the creation of public improvements along the waterfront and economic development benefiting the community. It has control of the funds which are generated from rents and it supervises the improvements which are made along the waterfront.

The Commission has eleven members who are appointed by individual aldermen with consent of the City Council for staggered terms of six years. The Commission elects its officers on an annual basis and holds a public meeting once a month to conduct its business (fourth Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.). City staff provides administrative and program support to the commission. If you are interested in serving on the Commission, please contact Steve Ahrens, 563-888-2235, for more information.

To download a brief history of Davenport's Levee Improvement Commission, click here.