Bettendorf City changes: Inciting grief or gratitude?

The Herbert D. Goettsch Community Center will be torn down and used as a new space once the city decides on a proposal.

Scott Isbell

The Herbert D. Goettsch Community Center will be torn down and used as a new space once the city decides on a proposal.

Chloe Isbell, Photo Manager

After its original opening in 1955, the Herbert D. Goettsch Community Center will undergo changes that may not permit a community center at all. 

In 2016, the city of Bettendorf released its new plans for the city, better known as “Premiering Bettendorf.” The plan addressed a number of topics that would initiate city growth and change: neighborhood and housing, land use and environment, parks and recreation, population and demographics, economic development, transportation and infrastructure and public safety. 

“Premiering Bettendorf” has greatly changed the physical appeal of downtown Bettendorf in the last five years. Now, older buildings are being reassessed to try and make them match a new modernized aesthetic. In the future, the city council hopes to create a Downtown Bettendorf where shopping, entertainment and housing are all in the same space. 

In hopes of keeping the community morale up as they tear down the only community center in Bettendorf, the city council opened the discussion to the public, asking for their pitches for the 4.48 acres of land. 

As of now, the city council has three proposals that are being considered. These proposals are coming from three different contracting companies: Dolan Homes, Entegrity and Everest Homes. 

Each proposal intends to use more land than the 4.48 acres, and all plans offer ways for the city to make more money, including through the implementation of initiatives like multi-unit housing. The push for money can be a bit unsettling to locals as the project will already displace the Riverbend Food Pantry and Alcoholics Anonymous. 

In fact, the only company that includes the Riverbend Food Pantry and Alcoholics Anonymous in their proposal is Dolan Homes. Even then, they will only be making the space available for two years. 

Upon further research into each companies’ plans, it becomes clear that Everest Homes is the only proposal group that hopes to rebuild a community center. “The new design is intended to re-establish the pride and the landmark in a shape and form that meets current needs while providing the same functions and maintaining the significant legacy of Herbert Goettsch,” the proposal stated. 

While to some it may appear that the new development, as well as the city council, has ill intentions, this is not the case. Bettendorf Alderman Scott Webster clarified the misconceptions. “This should help all citizens as they will have additional places to live, work and play. Hopefully, it draws citizens to the downtown and helps small and large businesses grow,” he said.  “This should also broaden the tax base to help take the burden off of the rest of the Bettendorf Citizens.” 

The impending changes to the community center have both bright sides and downsides. Ideally, the contractors of the previously mentioned proposals will take advantage of the great space and welcome even more citizens of Bettendorf without displacing the Food Pantry and Alcoholics Anonymous. 

For more information on this project, visit the QC Times.