Already a subscriber? Log in
- Unparalleled business coverage of the Iowa City / Cedar Rapids corridor.
- Immediate access to subscriber-only content on our website.
- 52 issues per year delivered digitally, in print or both.
- Support locally owned and operated journalism.
An Arts Alley in a reimagined downtown Rock Island and a unique Moline riverfront redevelopment are among the improvements those cities’ leaders plan to do with a combined $47.2 million in pandemic rescue funds. But those are just a few of the local projects and plans for spending the Illinois Quad Cities’ federal COVID-19 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Much more was shared by Moline City Administrator Bob Vitas and Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms on Friday, Feb. 25, at the Quad Cities Chamber’s legislative forum, held at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline. The forum also featured a video message from Jonathan McGee, new deputy director of regional economic development for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). In addition to outlining guidelines for ARPA funds, Mr. McGee also preached regional cooperation to “make these federal funds go as far as we can.” Both Mr. Thoms and Mr. Vitas highlighted one such regional project – the multijurisdictional land bank being created in the Illinois Quad Cities to deal with blighted and vacant properties and encourage their reuse and redevelopment. For Moline, its $20.7 million in ARPA funds represents “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Mr. Vitas said. The process to determine how to spend those dollars was an inclusive one. The city’s plans were built on three pillars residents had identified as the foundation of the city’s three-year community-driven strategic plan, Moline’s city administrator said. They are: Infrastructure, Quality of Place and Economy. Using that public input and based on the city’s needs and restrictions for spending some of the funds, Moline created a list of projects that includes:
- Ensuring all residents and businesses in the city have access to at least 1 gigabyte fiber optic service.
- Road, water and sewer repairs.
- $3 million to lay the groundwork for creating a quiet zone that would eliminate train whistles from blasting in downtown Moline.
- Investing in AMTRAK passenger service to downtown Moline.
- Reducing flooding on Illinois 92.
- $2.1 million to improve the economy through such tools as forgivable loans to increase child-care options, especially second and third shifts and weekend hours; forgivable small business loans; and new business awards.