Five Flags Civic Center: Phase 1 Assessment & Study

The City hired a consultant, Conventions, Sports and Leisure International (CSL), to conduct a comprehensive study and assessment. The contract between the City and CSL called for the consulting firm to perform a status assessment of Five Flags Civic Center, perform an expansion study and assessment, analyze naming rights and/or sponsorship opportunities, and develop scenarios and associated costs.  A draft report was presented to the Civic Center Commission on May 3, 2018 and at a City Council Work Session on May 14, 2018.

Download the full study.


Phase I was to assess the status. As proposed by the consultant, this was to be done in six steps including: study kickoff and initial project planning, local market conditions and visitor industry assessment, analysis of existing Five Flags Civic Center operations, industry trends review, competitive/comparable facility analysis, and market surveys.

The consultant’s work began with a series of meetings in the community.  As a part of Phase I of the study, a steering committee was established and met with the consultant twice during the kickoff.  The consultant also met with a variety of organizations including but not limited to Travel Dubuque, Dubuque Main Street, Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, the Five Flags Civic Center Commission, and more.  An initial public meeting was held for citizens to give input as well as share their thoughts and ideas related to Five Flags.

FFCC Phase 1

Public input was very important to the study process and was a priority.  An online survey was made available to allow for the community to give input regarding the future of the Five Flags Civic Center.  Nearly 1,100 responses were received. Bill Krueger, Principal of CSL, reported that in other studies they have performed throughout the US in similar markets, the typical response rate to a survey is 500-700.  He indicated this was one of the strongest response rates they have seen for a survey of this type.   The survey was a means for input from the citizens of the community into the study. The survey was widely promoted by the City, Chamber, Travel Dubuque, Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, Five Flags, and other organizations. View the responses to the online survey.

In Phase I of the Study and Assessment, CSL reviewed data regarding the current and historical operations and activities of Five Flags.  They contacted promoters and event planners and performed benchmarking comparisons of Five Flags to others in the community and throughout the region and country.  This phase was based on data collection, primary research, review of industry trends, and the survey efforts.

Phase II was an expansion study and assessment.  Components included: a market supportable program analysis, event/use levels analysis, conceptual renderings and design charrette, preliminary construction cost analysis, financial operations analysis, and economic impact analysis. 

Phase III analyzed naming rights and/or sponsorship opportunities.  Phase IV was developed and analyzed scenarios and costs related to each.  The RFP identified the following potential scenarios for the consultants; however, as the consultant moved through Phase I and II, these may have been changed or refined to better reflect the research and input received.

  • Demolish Five Flags Civic Center, except for the historic theater, to allow for redevelopment of site.
  • Redevelopment/leasing of Five Flags Civic Center, except for historic theater, for private tenancy or ownership.
  • Renovation of current footprint of Five Flags Civic Center buildings.
  • Renovation of the existing buildings with expansion of square footage either current or expanded footprint.
  • Relocation of existing Five Flags Civic Center to another location fitting with current sustainability and growth plans for the city of Dubuque.

CSL completed work on all phases of the Study.  Here is a link to the presentation to the Civic Center Commission on May 2, 2018:  Five Flags Civic Center Assessment and Study Presentation (May 2, 2018).

The draft findings were then presented to the Dubuque City Council at a special work session on Monday, May 14, 2018. View the presentation and watch the video of the work session presentation.

The Five Flags Civic Center Commission hosted a public input session for the community related to the study findings on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, at 6:30 in the Majestic Room of the Five Flags Civic Center. For those unable to attend this meeting, a link was provided on this webpage to provide input.  Find the minutes of the Civic Center Comission and view the input received via the webpage

Convention Sports & Leisure International finished the Civic Center Assessment and Study in June 2018.  To view all the components of the study and assessment, click each of the links below.  The document is 249 pages total thus it is broken up to assist in downloading.  The first document is the Five Flags Civic Center Assessment and Study.  Appendix A is Comparable Facility Case Studies and it is combined with Appendix B which is Comparable Market Demographic Data.  Appendix C is Community Survey Responses.  Appendix D is Architectural Concept and Layout Renderings.  Appendix E is Capital Cost Estimates.  Certain files are large and may take time to download.  Click on file name for each document to view.
Five Flags Civic Center Assessment and Study
Appendix A-B
Appendix C
Appendix D
Appendix E

At the July 2, 2018, City Council meeting, the Five Flags Civic Center Commission forwarded their unanimous recommendation from the June 25, 2018, Commission meeting to receive and file the Five Flags Civic Center Assessment and Study completed by Conventions, Sports and Leisure International (CSL).  Additionally, they unanimously recommended, based upon the response of the Dubuque community and all the public input, that the Council choose scenario four for the Five Flags renovations. 

Conventions, Sports and Leisure International was contracted to perform Phase 2 planning for an expanded and improved Five Flags Civic Center based upon diving deep into scenario 4 by approval of the City Council on November 5, 2108.  The proposal was heavily weighted to work items to be completed by subconsultants Betsch Associates and FEH Design along with structural, mechanical and environmental subconsultants. The report was to be presented to staff by December 7 and City Council on December 17, 2018.

For additional information, please contact Leisure Services Manager Marie Ware at 563-589-4264.