Flood mitigation measures threaten Davenport cafe’s survival

"Flood Threatened Cafe"

In the heart of Davenport, Java Java Cafe, owned by Shelly Ellis and Kaley DeBlieck, is on the brink of collapse due to continual flood prevention strategies and construction. The much-needed efforts have unfortunately obstructed access to their cafe, hamstringing their income flow.

Despite their own financial peril, the owners commend the city’s flood prevention work stand. Ellis seems to truly believe in the city’s future, advocating short-term sacrifices for the long-term health of the community.

The losses, however, are piling up. Java Java Cafe’s daily earnings were cut by $300 to $500 in March, leading to a total loss of around $12,000. If the trend continues, they could lose an alarming 65% of their business this month.

Davenport is channeling $4 million of COVID-relief funds into a project on East River Drive.

Flood mitigation obstacles stifle Davenport cafe

The investment includes underground piping and gate valve installations to keep floodwaters at bay. A temporary flood barrier and enhanced drainage systems also form part of the city’s robust flood defense strategy.

Once fully functional, these measures will keep East River Drive open until flood levels reach 22.5 feet. The city’s comprehensive $165 million flood prevention plan includes more efficient use of green spaces, new levees, rain gardens, permeable pavements, and possibly even riverfront flood walls.

Currently, the construction work has limited traffic on East River Drive, and left turns onto East 4th Street and Federal Street are blocked. Despite these setbacks, Ellis and DeBlieck are resilient. They are hopeful to continue serving their customer base and surmount the daunting challenges ahead.