East Moline to receive $24M in federal funds to connect downtown to The Bend

The City of East Moline will receive a $24 million federal grant to enhance the greater downtown area and improve connectivity between the 15th Avenue downtown district and the Rust Belt and The Bend riverfront developments.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, and Illinois U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth jointly announced the funding today, Aug. 11, for the downtown revitalization project. The funding is from the Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grants program. 

Reggie Freeman
Reggie Freeman

“On behalf of the City of East Moline, I would like to thank Congresswoman Bustos, and Senators Durbin and Duckworth for their assistance with our RAISE Grant application,” East Moline Mayor Reggie Freeman said. “This goes to show what can come to reality when all elected officials, including our local and State of Illinois elected officials, work together to bring better growth to local municipalities. I also tip my hat to the hard work our staff has done over the last three years.”

Among those staff leaders is East Moline Director of Engineering Tim Kammler. “I truly believe the Greater Downtown Revitalization Project is a game changer for the City of East Moline,” he said. “Thanks to this RAISE Grant, we’ll have the opportunity to move forward with this amazing, transformative project that will rethink and reconnect our downtown to The Bend, Rust Belt and riverfront that has been historically industrial and divided from the core of downtown.”

According to the city’s grant application, with the help of nearly $24 million in federal funding, the East Moline Greater Downtown Revitalization Project will include:

  • 15th Avenue reconstruction and streetscaping (complete street: vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists) between Sixth Street and 13th Street,
  • 12th Avenue reconstruction and streetscaping between First and Seventh streets.
  • Seventh Street streetscaping and railroad crossing enhancements between 12th Street and 15th Avenue.
  • Bend Boulevard and Third Street streetscaping through The Bend.
  • Extend Bend Boulevard (complete street) to 7th Street for connectivity and development corridor.

The plan also calls for safely connecting the downtown corridor with jobs, recreation, and an emerging tourist district by: 

  • Enhancing pedestrian connectivity through trail connections, a multi-use trail on 12th Avenue, added crossings and improved sidewalks.
  • Converting a passive pedestrian at-grade rail crossing at 7th Street to an active crossing, improving safety and facilitating connection between the districts. 
  • Giving residents and visitors more transportation options through improved access to transit stops, bike facilities, sidewalks and trails.
  • Providing blocks of curbless, accessible “festival” streetscaping that creates a multi-use pedestrian zone between shops and streets, building a more flexible and inviting downtown for the future.
  • Reducing stormwater runoff through use of green infrastructure throughout downtown. 
  • Improving quality of life and strengthening economic development through a renewed sense of place. 
  • Developing a more equitable and accessible East Moline by deliberately investing in historically disadvantaged communities and reclaiming a historic riverfront for all.

The application included a number of letters of support, including one from Ms. Bustos who also sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urging full and fair consideration of the city’s grant application. 

“Our downtowns are the heart and soul of our communities, where small businesses grow and folks come together,” said Congresswoman Bustos, who began her political career as an East Moline alderman. “With this transformative investment of nearly $24 million in federal funding, the very core of East Moline will become safer, more prosperous and better-connected than ever before.” 

“This federal investment in Downtown East Moline will support more accessible transit, an updated water system and a revitalized recreation district for residents while bringing in business and growth for the area’s entrepreneurs,”  Ms. Duckworth added.  “I’ll keep working with Senator Durbin and Congresswoman Bustos to make sure East Moline and communities all across Illinois receive the federal support they deserve to create modernized and equitable communities.”

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