It has been a contentious issue for years. But now, it appears some of the controversy surrounding the St. Ambrose Stadium project is over. Davenport council members decided not to override the Mayor's veto of the University's rezoning request.
A 25-hundred seat stadium and sports complex on part of the St. Vincent's Center campus has been the dream of St. Ambrose University administrators for years. But ever since the project was conceived, some neighbors have been opposed, and vocal in their opposition. They've been talking to council members about how they don't want noise, lights, traffic and more sewer problems in their backyards. And the Mayor listened.
Aldermen originally green-lighted the request with about two-dozen concessions. In fact, they voted on it three times during the process. But last month, the Mayor vetoed it. So aldermen needed seven votes to override. 44 people got up to speak on both sides; neighbors, University staffers and high school athletes. But in the end, it was not enough. The vote came out the same way the past three did. Six for the rezoning, four against it.
The Mayor says that means an end to all the fighting and a victory for neighborhoods in the city. "It proves that you can beat city hall," Mayor Bill Gluba says. "If you're organized and got a good case. And I'd like to make it very clear, its unfortunate that this has been a very divisive issue for our community. It's now time for all parties to come together and heal the wounds."
Ambrose Vice President of Finance Mike Poster says, "We're disappointed. We spent 4 years now listening to neighbors, studying the complex and designing the complex. And we think we have met or exceeded every requirement set down by the city."
At this point, he says Ambrose administrators will reassess and take a look at all options. There is a memorandum of understanding with Assumption High School, but Mike Poster tells us there have not been serious talks yet. Meantime, city leaders say they would like to talk as well about other possible locations. No timeline on any of that yet.