Brief History: Bettendorf, Iowa lies in an area that was the original Wisconsin Territory, which was purchased from the Sac and Fox Indians in the Black Hawk Purchase in 1832. The area was opened to homesteaders in 1840. The original town on the site was named Lillienthal, after an early tavern and dance hall owner. The town was renamed Gilbert in 1858, honoring Elias Gilbert, who platted the original town. At that time, the residents, who were predominately German, were employed as farmers, skilled laborers, and small business operators.
At the turn of the century, William and Joseph Bettendorf proposed to the townspeople that they would move their iron wagon business from Davenport to Gilbert if the town would purchase the old Gilbert farm for them as a location for their factory. Donations were solicited from area residents and businesses to raise the $15,000 to purchase the property and the factory was moved to Gilbert. In January of 1903, the town of 440 citizens petitioned for incorporation, requesting a name change to Bettendorf in honor of the brothers whose factory was so important to the early development of the city.
When the City of Bettendorf was incorporated in 1903, a year after the Bettendorf brothers moved their factory to the City, the population was 440. Growth was slow in the early years. At the time of World War II, there were still fewer than 4,000 residents. Rapid growth in manufacturing and general business activities caused an acceleration of population growth in the 1950's and 60's. In 1948, the opening of the Alcoa plant, now known as Arconic, which is located in Riverdale, was particularly important to the City's growth. Bettendorf more than doubled its population between 1960 and 1980.
Form of Government: Bettendorf has a Mayor-Council form of government. The Mayor and Council members serve four-year terms on a staggered basis. It is the responsibility of the Mayor and Council to choose a City Administrator. The City Administrator is a full-time, salaried employee who manages the administrative functions of city government, while the Council acts as the law-making, policy-forming body.
There are seven Council members: one for each of the five wards and two at-large members. The City Administrator appoints all Department Heads except the City Attorney which is appointed by the Mayor.
The City Council holds its regular meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m. Committee of the Whole meetings are held at 5:00 p.m. on Monday prior to the regular meeting and on the fourth Monday of each month, if necessary. All meetings are held at Bettendorf City Hall, 1609 State Street, 2nd floor, Council Chambers.
Geography: Bettendorf is located at latitude 41 degrees 32 minutes north, longitude 90 degrees 30 minutes west, at an elevation of 565 feet on the southeast border of Iowa on the Mississippi River. It is within 175 miles of Chicago and Des Moines, within 360 miles of Kansas City and Minneapolis, 300 miles from Omaha and 250 miles from St. Louis.
Bettendorf has a temperate continental climate with a wide temperature range throughout the year. The average winter temperature is 26.7 degrees and the average summer temperature is 70.9 degrees. The mean annual temperature is 50.1 degrees. Precipitation is usually well distributed throughout the year with an average annual rainfall of 32.79 inches and an average annual snowfall of 30.6 inches. According to the National Climatic Data Center, substantial weather changes frequently occur at three or four-day intervals, as a result of the area being in proximity to some of the most important storm tracks.
Technology: Bettendorf prides itself on having a multitude of broadband providers in our community that have built our city with a full fiber-to-the-premises network. Gigabit speeds can be achieved at every property today!
Bettendorf is a proud recipient of the Intelligent Community Forum's - Smart21 Intelligent Communities Award for 2007. This honor recognizes Bettendorf as one of the world's top communities for using broadband telecommunications as a means for enhancing economic development and social progress.
Businesses have access to multi-redundant gigabit ethernet boasting the ability to deliver fiber directly into their buildings.
All City buildings are interconnected via the fiber optic network saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for local citizens.
Two K-12 school districts, as well as an area community college, link within their own systems and to the internet using the city-owned fiber network, again saving significant tax dollars.
Education: There are two public school systems serving the City of Bettendorf, both of which are highly regarded for the quality of their programs, staff, and facilities. The Bettendorf Community School District has five elementary schools, one middle school, and one four-year senior high school. The high school is a five-building complex located on a 60-acre site. The eastern part of the City is served by the Pleasant Valley Community School District, which includes a four-year senior high, a junior high, and five elementary schools. Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley also share an alternative high school program along with the North Scott School District. There are also three private schools in Bettendorf. Lourdes Catholic Elementary School has a pre-kindergarten through 8th-grade enrollment; Rivermont Collegiate, a college preparatory day school, has a preschool through 12th-grade enrollment; and Morning Star Academy, an independent, non-denominational classical Christian school, has a preschool through 12th-grade enrollment.
Another agency serving the educational needs of the community is the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency. The agency, which is located in Bettendorf, provides special and general education services to local school districts and approved non-public schools in Cedar, Clinton, Jackson, Louisa, Muscatine, and Scott counties. Administrative services include assistance with the strategic planning process, administrator searches, personnel and business matters as well as communication workshops.
Parks and Recreation: Leisure services and facilities for all age groups include: Palmer Hills Golf Course, an 18-hole golf course; Palmer Grill, a full-service restaurant located at the golf course; the Veterans Memorial Park Band Shell; more than 700 acres of park land throughout 24 different park sites; two boat launches and docks (Leach Park and Eagles Landing); 7.8 miles of fitness and recreation trails; and 7.3 miles of separated trails. Work is also underway on The Landing: A Community Aquatic Facility and Ice Rink! A complete listing of parks, programs, and facilities is available online here or by calling (563) 344-4113.
Family Museum: The Family Museum is a department of the City of Bettendorf, Iowa. Built in 1997, the Museum is located on Bettendorf's Learning Campus next to Faye's Field and the Public Library & Information Center. The Family Museum prides itself on offering unique and educational experiences for children and families. Exhibits and programs are designed for a primary audience of children eight and younger with an adult caregiver.
The Museum includes 44,000 square feet of programming space with a 10,400 square foot interactive exhibit hall, three multi-purpose rooms for dance instruction and performances, two preschool classrooms, two art studios, one science studio, a party room Fox & Bee, a private outdoor playground.
The Museum has hosted exciting traveling exhibits such as Hubble Space Telescope: New View of the Universe, Grossology: the Impolite Science of the Human Body, The vision of Jim Henson, Blue Man Group, Making Waves, Bob the Builder Project: Build it, Adventures with Clifford The Big Red Dog, and Doc McStuffins: The Exhibit. In addition to exhibits, the Museum has welcomed special presentations by famed productions like Cirque du Soleil, The Tap Dogs, and presentations from Grammy nominees Justing Roberts and Trout Fishing in America.
Bettendorf Public Library Information Center: The Bettendorf Public Library Information Center will be a recognized free community resource, serving as a gateway to life-long learning that offers a diverse spectrum of innovative services, materials and programming in support of:
- The pursuit of knowledge and information;
- The joy of reading and the importance of literacy;
- Social, educational, and cultural activities experienced within inviting gathering spaces;
- Active engagement and collaboration with the City, schools, and organizations.