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Old 11-29-2014, 09:36 AM
 
231 posts, read 339,972 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dport7674
Post #10 is probably all you're going to get.
You probably didn't mean anything by that comment, but now you're making me feel like I shortchanged on the quality of feedback.

One thing I didn't mention was that I was impressed by how urban the QCs were. Obviously, the QCs are nothing compared to a city like Chicago. Still, for the Midwest as a whole, it wasn't bad. There were scores of walkable areas with urban business districts. If you want to include the Illinois side of the QCs, I can't think of any other place in Iowa that can compete. Des Moines wins for modern office buildings, but the city is practically starting from scratch in neighborhoods like East Village, and more established areas like the Court District are no more impressive than many of the downtowns in the QCs.

In terms of physical structure (forget the economy for a second), all Des Moines really has on the QCs are modern office buildings and suburban sprawl. It's winning only in that sense.

Now, yes, the QCs still need work. There are some rough edges that need smoothing out. The downtowns aren't perfect, and the local economy - as in many smaller Midwest metros - has stagnated to a degree. But where funksoulbro just sees all the ways the QCs has failed to measure up, I see some nice puzzle pieces that could be used to revitalize the area with the right leadership. The QCs has a strong blend of suburban and urban environments. It has a unique location and rich history. It has some strong economic chess pieces with John Deere, Alcoa, and Rock Island Arsenal. Maybe you can't ride those specific employers for strong growth, but perhaps you can leverage the talent those employers attract to diversify the economy.
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Old 11-29-2014, 09:49 AM
 
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I like the fact there is more diversity than here than most of IA and IL outside of Chicago. Unfortunately given the lack of nightlife and a true urban culture people don't get out much. Most people here associate mainly with their childhood friends or people they met through work.

Last edited by Cryinbaby; 11-29-2014 at 09:59 AM..
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Old 11-29-2014, 10:11 AM
 
231 posts, read 339,972 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cryinbaby
Unfortunately given the lack of nightlife
How does the nightlife lack, except in comparison to huge cities like Chicago? Not enough dedicated night clubs? That's about all I could think of that the QC is really missing. The bar scene is pretty good, and you have the casinos.

I will say that I think the QCs suffer a bit from "Detroit-itis". When your region hasn't lived up to its potential and has been surpassed by its competitors, it's easy to see only the bad and adopt a very negative outlook. Metro Detroit has over 4 million people and has a fair amount of wealth, but many residents just see its failures and its decline from a top 5 metro to a metro that's not even in the top 10. And certainly, there are legit complaints to be lodged against Metro Detroit, but you also have to stop and smell the roses once in awhile.
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Old 11-29-2014, 02:29 PM
 
427 posts, read 405,466 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one is lonely View Post
How does the nightlife lack, except in comparison to huge cities like Chicago? Not enough dedicated night clubs? That's about all I could think of that the QC is really missing. The bar scene is pretty good, and you have the casinos.

I will say that I think the QCs suffer a bit from "Detroit-itis". When your region hasn't lived up to its potential and has been surpassed by its competitors, it's easy to see only the bad and adopt a very negative outlook. Metro Detroit has over 4 million people and has a fair amount of wealth, but many residents just see its failures and its decline from a top 5 metro to a metro that's not even in the top 10. And certainly, there are legit complaints to be lodged against Metro Detroit, but you also have to stop and smell the roses once in awhile.
I really don't know, but it seems like most people stay in and watch Netflix. There's not really a music scene here for instance though there are seemingly plenty of venues.
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Old 11-29-2014, 05:10 PM
 
387 posts, read 542,441 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one is lonely View Post
It has some strong economic chess pieces with John Deere, Alcoa, and Rock Island Arsenal. Maybe you can't ride those specific employers for strong growth, but perhaps you can leverage the talent those employers attract to diversify the economy.
Deere and Alcoa have been here for decades. The local chamber has tried to highlight their presence as a strength, but virtually nobody is buying the pitch. Why? I suspect it's because the workforce here is outdated and homogeneous in terms of skills. Businesses looking at big-time investment don't want to locate in an area where the worker pool is not educated enough to suit their needs.

Also, it's incredibly difficult to recruit new workers to the Quad City area from elsewhere. Case in point: Cobham PLC (a defense contractor) recently closed one of their operations in California and moved those positions to its Davenport operation. The California workers were told they could transfer to Davenport and keep their positions. A vast majority of those employees balked at the offer and stayed in California instead to find other work. These were high-paying positions at Cobham, but few wanted to move to a place like Davenport, Iowa.

Carleton Life Support Systems to add 80 jobs in Davenport : Business

Quote:
He said only about eight to 10 employees currently working at the California plant are expected to transfer to Davenport.

“Very few will be transferred from California,” Knight said. “We have had few commitments. Moving from California to Iowa does not seem to interest them."
Few outside the Midwest have even heard of Davenport or the Quad Cities. The QC's reputation within the Midwest is not very favorable. It's just not a place people are excited to move to, and businesses want happy, enthusiastic employees. That's why large-scale economic development projects steer clear of the area. Businesses know selling their hypothetical Quad City operation to talented workers is an uphill battle.

Places that do have an ascendant national reputation -- like Des Moines, Omaha, Madison, etc. -- are simply taking what the Quad Cities will never get offered. Until local business leaders and politicians address the real problem (i.e. the QC's lackluster quality of life) this is going to continue for decades.

Last edited by funksoulbro; 11-29-2014 at 05:47 PM..
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Old 11-29-2014, 05:16 PM
 
387 posts, read 542,441 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cryinbaby View Post
I really don't know, but it seems like most people stay in and watch Netflix. There's not really a music scene here for instance though there are seemingly plenty of venues.
It's an older population and a relatively conservative population. Music and the arts flourish in places like Austin, Portland, or Madison. The Quad Cities doesn't have that kind of energetic youthful vibe. That's because working at a tractor factory or assembling tanks doesn't attract young people with creative minds.

The only people who think the Quad Cities are "happening" are those who lived here their entire lives. The mediocrity sells just fine to locals, but not so well to people in other parts of the country where real excitement exists.
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Old 11-29-2014, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Plymouth,Michigan/Quad Cities, (IA/IL)
364 posts, read 663,654 times
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Ironically, I moved from the Quad Cities to the Detroit area 7 years ago. I would never have thought that the Quad Cities could be compared to Detroit but after thinking about it I can see your points in that regard. Some parts of metro Detroit remind me of the QC area more than others. The QC area definitely does not have an abundance of McMansions like some of the Detroit suburbs do. People are much friendlier in the Quad Cities and it's much easier to make friends and get involved with the community.
As far as the economy, the auto industry is what keeps Detroit going for the most part. I really don't see a lot of opportunity here for young people outside of that. There are an abundance of low paying retail jobs available here, and almost every store I go into has a "Help Wanted" sign on the door.
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Old 11-29-2014, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Jonesboro
3,617 posts, read 3,560,958 times
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I understand a point you referenced funk but truth be known, even great companies that move parts of their operations out of California often find that their employees balk at leaving the Golden State. Case in point: Earlier this year Texas scored a much-ballyhooed p.r. win against California by wooing the North American HQ operations to commit to a move out of greater LA to suburban Dallas.
Now that the push and shove of the relocation process is getting into the finer details, Toyota has found that at least 70% of their employees are refusing to stay on in their positions & relocate to Texas. They just don't want to leave California.
It's really no singular knock on the QC for a company that moved there to have encountered a similar situation in dealing with potential employee relocation out of California.

A different point of mine relates to the ongoing debate we often see play out in the Iowa Forum over a smaller metro like the QC or a small town in Iowa that supposedly is deficient in this & that & supposedly fares poorly as an urban setting & supposedly has crappy employers. Something that a resident of a smaller metro or small town may not realize is that there are millions people like me out there who have been living as adults for years in huge metropolises who are tired of it... simply sick & tired of it! The smaller city/town residents largely cannot realize how refreshing & liberating it is to escape the urban rat race & actually spend time in a medium to small metro, a small town or even.. gasp! the country.
Iowa is loaded w/ many such locations that are the antithesis of the urban rat race & it is to the advantage of the state to play up those locations as a foil to the stressful urban chaos. Talk about "real excitement" as it was called here earlier today... You can have it in view of the toll it takes on health through stress & other assorted urban ills! If you've never spent up to 3 total hours of your day in dreadful, gridlocked commutes you have no idea of how exciting that can be.
It took me a long time to understand & agree with them but I'm right there now with my aunt & uncle from suburban Chicago who visited us in my small home town when I was a kid. They said , "You don't know how good you have it here," and they were right.
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Old 11-29-2014, 10:06 PM
 
4,759 posts, read 6,438,360 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atler8 View Post
The smaller city/town residents largely cannot realize how refreshing & liberating it is to escape the urban rat race & actually spend time in a medium to small metro, a small town or even.. gasp! the country.

This is true.

But it's also true that when you're 18-26, there's not a lot to do. How many times can you go to the 'District of Rock Island' and get drunk.

Otoh, I do have friends/family who live in San Diego, Seattle, Ft. Lauderdale and Chicago who are pretty much living the same as folks in mid sized Midwest cities...They're working boring middle management jobs or blue collar jobs, they always go to the same 5 restaurants, the same 5 taverns, and they stay at home and watch netflix. Living in a large city doesn't automatically = excitement/opportunity.
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Old 11-30-2014, 05:36 AM
 
387 posts, read 542,441 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atler8 View Post
If you've never spent up to 3 total hours of your day in dreadful, gridlocked commutes you have no idea of how exciting that can be.
It took me a long time to understand & agree with them but I'm right there now with my aunt & uncle from suburban Chicago who visited us in my small home town when I was a kid. They said , "You don't know how good you have it here," and they were right.
For some people in a certain age range, that may be the case. However, for most young people looking to launch their lives/careers, a place like the Quad Cities is not very appealing. I understand that the appeal of mid-sized metros is the "best of both worlds" aspect; having culture and amenities, but without all the rampant crime, traffic, and living expenses. There are some mid-sized cities (like Omaha, Des Moines, and Madison) that are perfectly positioned in that category.

The Quad Cities is not. Decent jobs are in scarce supply. The amenities/shopping/art scene/recreational offerings are not impressive for an area of ~400,000. The culture is very white and conservative. If you were to rank the Midwest's metros of 250,000-1,000,000 based on criteria important to young people, the QC would finish near the bottom of that list in almost every category. There's nothing compelling about the area when compared to its neighbors.

So, while the QC area is very affordable and congestion-free compared to Chicago...it lacks the excitement factor of even a Des Moines or Madison. Throw in the fact you'll have a hard time finding suitable employment in the Quad Cities, and you can see why this area's population has remained stagnant for decades.
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