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Davenport One of the Best Small Cities

City of Davenport
the downtown Davenport riverfront

Davenport is ranked 29 out of 100 small cities in the annual 2020 America’s Best Small Cities Report. 

The top five small cities as ranked by the consulting firm Resonance were Reno, Nev.; Naples, Fla.; Santa Fe, N.M., Savannah, Ga., and Asheville, N.C.. Earlier this month, Resonance completed a master tourism plan for the Quad-Cities, with Visit Quad Cities, which will work to implement its recommendations.

Dave Herrell, president and CEO of Visit Quad Cities, is happy with Davenport making the list for the first time – in the first year the report measured 100 metro areas between 100,000 and 500,000 population. The Quad-Cities has 380,106 residents in the region.

“The fact that Davenport and the Quad-Cities was recognized, and to be ranked 29th I think is a great thing. There were 100 communities that we part of this analytical process and insights. This report really delves into place equity and they’ve got these cornerstone things they’re looking at. To be number 29, I think is fantastic. There’s a lot of wonderful communities that were 1 to 28, and a lot from 30 and beyond, but just to be recognized I think is a silver lining for us. It’s exciting.”

Credit Resonance Consultancy
from America's Best Small Cities

America’s Best Cities, now in its sixth year, is billed as the most comprehensive city ranking in the U.S., based on original methodology that uses the opinions of the people who matter most: a city’s visitors and its residents. The index ranks the success of a city by analyzing and comparing 28 factors grouped in six key categories to identify a competitive identity.

The categories are -- place, product, programming, prosperity, people and promotion. The Quad-Cities ranked 8th in the prosperity category, based on employment and corporate head offices, including Fortune 500 companies and household income.

The entry on Davenport’s Best Cities ranking calls it “the economic powerhouse” of the Q-C area, thanks to the presence of companies such as Kraft Heinz, Nestle Purina and John Deere. Davenport ranked 32nd in the product category, notably due to the Q-C International Airport with four airlines serving 11 nonstop hubs.

With educational services and health care, arts and entertainment are a significant employer, and the report said the region ranked 10th in nightlife, 21 for museums (noting the Figge Art Museum) and 22 for culture (noting the annual Riverssance fest). Resonance also mentioned the construction of hundreds of downtown apartments, which has been going on for years, for those drawn to the city.

Paul Rumler, President and CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber, says that as the area is marketed as a prosperous regional economy, the new report is “one more ranking we can add to our promotions – one of America’s Best Small Cities.”

Herrell says the report and Resonance – which works worldwide in tourism, economic development, real estate development and more – represent legitimate wins for the region.

“I do know that communities look to it every year; I know that we do and I do. I think it’s something we can use as a best practice, and hopefully a little bit of a competitive edge as we look at these other markets and see who’s out there. It’s a good publication and a good work product for us to really glean from.”

To see the report on small cities, visit bestcities.org (under Rankings). To see the Quad-Cities tourism master plan, go to visitquadcities.com (under About at top).

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.
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