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A persistent rain failed to dampen community pride Wednesday evening, Oct. 18, when the City of Bettendorf reopened a portion of the renovated intersection at Middle Road and Forest Grove Drive. A small crowd of citizens, city officials and other invited dignitaries cheered loudly when a front loader from the project’s contractor, Valley Construction, drove through a finish-line banner spanning the roadway. The unique ribbon-cutting ceremony unveiled the largest of four roundabouts added to the roadways that provide access to the TBK Bank Sports Complex and more than 30 neighboring restaurants, bars and shops. The intersection of Forest Grove Drive and Championship Drive also reopened with the addition of a roundabout. Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher called the celebration an “Open Road Open House,” and invited those gathered Wednesday to be among the first to revisit the restaurants and shops surrounding the complex. “Since last summer, the residents, visitors and businesses out in this area endured detours, detours and more detours,” Mr. Gallagher said during his public remarks. “We understand that's the price of progress, and Valley did an awesome job of trying to keep as much of this open as possible — working with our staff to ensure that everything was safe, and we could get through this area as best as possible. “But now we're going to have some openings and we are going to be able to reintroduce the Plex businesses and TBK Bank Sports Complex to our folks in the area,” he said. While access has been restored to Middle Road south of the intersection — and west on Forest Grove Drive — Mr. Gallagher noted the largest public works project in Bettendorf history is not yet finished. And he promised an even bigger celebration is coming soon. Still remaining for Valley Construction to complete the $11.5 million Forest Grove Drive Reconstruction Project is a stretch of Middle Road north to the Interstate-80 interchange. This section includes the fourth and final roundabout at the intersection with Competition Drive. Bettendorf City Administrator Decker Ploehn said that Phase 3 work, first projected to be completed by November, now should be finished by Christmas with recent rains and delayed material deliveries slowing progress. Forest Grove Drive east of the intersection — and through another roundabout intersection to the edge of the new addition to the sports complex — also remains closed while construction crews continue working in that area. The reopened intersections, though, provide easier traffic detours around the under-construction portion of the TBK Sports Complex expansion, which includes the Iron Tee golf facility. A pedestrian bridge spanning Middle Road north of Competition Drive — and connecting the two sides of the sports complex — also is in the plans for 2024. “This is really cool. It's a destination for sure as the northern gateway coming into our city,” Mr. Ploehn told the QCBJ at the celebration. “We’re excited about what it’s going to do to get people back up here and excited about what it’s going to do for (development on) the other side of the road. “This is going to continue to spur growth. There’s already more development coming to the east and to the south, and we know we’ve got growth (coming) to the north, where we own property. There's going to be a new (Interstate 80) interchange in 2026. So, this whole area in the next 10 years is just going to explode.” For Mr. Ploehn and others, the reopened intersections and roundabouts marked the latest milepost in the city’s efforts to not only improve traffic flow around the sports complex by widening Forest Grove Drive, but to also upgrade infrastructure such as storm sewers and sidewalks in the rapidly growing northern part of the city. The spark in 2015 was the federally funded joint project between Bettendorf and Davenport to upgrade both Forest Grove and Davenport’s Veterans Memorial Parkway. Rock Island-based Valley Construction began this final phase of the reconstruction project in February after completing an extension of Competition Drive east into the new sports complex development in 2022. “It's an exciting day for the City of Bettendorf, an exciting day for the businesses at the Plex, and we're proud to be a part of it, certainly,” Adam Hass, executive vice president of Valley Construction, said while addressing the crowd. “We're a family-owned company that’s been in the Quad Cities for 100 years as of next year. And in that history, I don't know that there's been a more exciting and vibrant development in a short amount of time like what's happened out here,” he added. “We've been out here for over a year. We've got almost 40,000 labor hours invested in this project without a single safety incident, so that's fantastic for our people. … We've gotten over a lot of hurdles to get here. And I’d certainly like to thank the business community for their patience dealing with the construction and detours. I hope everybody that's had a hand in this has some satisfaction today in seeing this ribbon-cutting.” Mr. Ploehn was among the many taking great pleasure in the celebration — and thanked the countless city staffers dedicating countless hours to bring the project to life — all while also providing local support working on the new state and federal Interstate 74 bridge project. “The mayor had a vision probably 10 years ago for a sports complex, and we were fortunate that (sports complex founder) Doug Kratz had a vision that matched that,” Mr. Ploehn said. “Making that vision come true has been amazing. You’ve got to plan it, finance it and build it. You’ve got to zone it and all those things. And that doesn't come easy or come without a lot of time. And so, it's been a monumental effort. “So, hats off to our engineering team, our public works team, our inspectors and planners. (Assistant City Administrator) Jeff Reiter also has done an incredible job on the economic development side of this, and the city council has been so supportive all along. So, it's been great to be a part of this and see it come to life,” Mr. Ploehn added.