DRA Board Approves More Than $300K for Schmitt Island
According to a press release form the organization, the DRA approved a proposal yesterday at the organization’s board meeting where Iowa-based RDG Planning & Design (RDG) would research, develop and deliver a comprehensive development plan for Schmitt Island, which is a city-owned property on the Mississippi River. The plan includes a $302,660 investment by the organization and should be completed within the next 12 months.
The plan defines concrete steps related to the community’s vision of Schmitt Island being developed as “Dubuque’s Gateway to Entertainment and the Mississippi.” RDG will review and summarize existing master plans for the island, as well as complete a more detailed study on the island’s current infrastructure, natural resources, development potential, and potential economic impact.
Specific topics to be covered in the plan include:
- Natural areas inventory
- Water resources, including the island’s regulatory floodplain
- Parks, amenities, entertainment and recreation – new and existing attractions
- Development potential, including multifamily, commercial or recreational uses
- Economic considerations – property and sales taxes, new jobs/new residents, regional output, etc.
- Island infrastructure – current and possible additions
- Evaluation of multiple land uses
- Preliminary construction cost estimates
- Financial and fiscal models for priority projects
- Recommendations on prioritized improvements
“We have a lot of great ideas, but now we need a plan for action. This plan will create a pathway for private development and public engagement.”
- Alex Dixon, CEO of the DRA and Q Casino.
Schmitt Island is currently home to park space and other amenities and has long played a role in Dubuque’s history and economy. City officials are supportive of the planning effort and look forward to seeing the results of RDG’s work and recommendations for enhancing the island.
“Schmitt Island already plays an important role in our community. However, after much discussion and study we know there is potential for even more. Any future development on the island needs to be done the right way and take into consideration a wide variety of factors. This is why engaging RDG to provide us with an objective, comprehensive look at what’s possible – while also offering some economic forecasting and cost-related projections – is important to the overall success of this effort moving forward.”
-Brad Cavanagh, Mayor of Dubuque and DRA Board Member
The visioning and planning work by RDG is being overseen by the DRA and any future development decisions on the island will need additional approval of the DRA, as well as the Dubuque City Council. To help provide a sounding board related to any recommendations, approvals, approaches and processes, a steering committee made-up of 10 to 12 individuals from the city, economic development professionals, and the DRA will be formed to guide the plan’s development throughout the process.
“There is no shortage of interested parties and partners when it comes to redeveloping Schmitt Island and enhancing its current amenities. We look forward to seeing the results of RDG’s work and taking a hands-on approach to guide all aspects of the plan moving forward, as we believe the future development of Schmitt Island is important for the community and the region.”
-Mike Donohue, DRA Board Chair
The DRA provides social, economic, and community betterment while lessening the burden to the city of Dubuque and area governments. They contribute to the growth and viability of Dubuque area tourism through its gaming and entertainment facilities.