Mayor: East Moline is growing, on the ‘right path’

East Moline is on “the right path” as it is attracting new businesses – including initial plans for another new hotel – and is set to grow in the coming years.

That was the message delivered by East Moline Mayor Reggie Freeman on Thursday, May 5, during his State of the City address at The Bend Event Center on the city’s riverfront.

Reggie Freeman

“We have a lot going on in East Moline. … We are still on an upward trajectory and I’m proud of the things we’ve been able to accomplish in a few short years. … We’re on the right path,” the mayor said during his address, which was part of a Rotary Club of East Moline and Silvis meeting. The meeting attracted about 100 people.

During his address, the mayor outlined new, expanded or planned projects in the community.

For example, Mr. Freeman said there is a new hotel in the works that will be located south of the Bend XPO. That new hotel will be smaller than the Hyatt House East Moline / Quad Cities, he added.

After the address, East Moline City Administrator Doug Maxeiner told the QCBJ that the hotel project is in the conceptual stages. He believes a new hotel will have about 60 rooms, but added that there were no other details available on the project.

Also, the mayor said The Quarter residential development project continues to make progress. The project developers, B&L Development, will construct 38 duplex units in two phases. He added that infrastructure work on Phase 2 of the project will start in the coming weeks.

“Some of the units will back up directly to the Mississippi River and bike path, and most units will have a view of the river,” he added.

East Moline City Administrator Doug Maxeiner discusses upcoming city projects during the State of the City address. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

Some of the other business and project highlights the mayor pointed out include: the Bend XPO at 920 Mississippi Parkway has attracted major events to the community after opening last year; MetroLink is applying for a $500,000 federal grant to build a lighted pedestrian path to connect 7th Street and downtown East Moline; The Palace restaurant was renovated; the Whiskey Stop opened last year; Olde Town Bakery opened.; TBK Bank built a new building in downtown; the new and expanded East Moline Public Library will open soon in the renovated former TBK Bank building; Taco John’s opened on Avenue of the Cities; the Chicago Area Council of Carpenters administrative offices and training facility are in the works; Kunes Ford opened in East Moline; and two pickleball courts have been added at Mitchell Park.

The mayor added that the central message of his address is that East Moline is working hard to grow and attract new businesses and programs.

“You have to keep your tennis shoes on and keep running,” the mayor told the QCBJ after his update. “You have to keep scraping for funds for projects. … It’s all about hard work to get people and businesses to come to East Moline.”

Much of the presentation was devoted to showing how East Moline has recovered from the tough times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr.  Maxeiner said that while the pandemic “hit the pause button” on some projects, the city is quickly recovering.

“Our main revenues are strong. … We think things are turning up for East Moline,” he added.

One of the ways East Moline is recovering is through federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The city is getting about $2.8 million in ARPA funds. Mr. Maxeiner said East Moline is prohibited from using that money for street repairs, but can use it in many other ways.  

“We took the approach to carefully invest these funds in a multitude of projects having ongoing community benefits,” Mr. Maxeiner added.

According to information from the city, here is how East Moline will use those funds:

  • Revenue loss replacement: $1.684 million
  • Great River Trail resurfacing: $575,000
  • Security cameras, city facilities: $150,000
  • Booster Pump No. 1 (water): $130,000
  • Babcock drainage: $100,000
  • Archer Drive storm sewer repair: $100,000
  • Personal protective equipment: $50,000
  • Miscellaneous water system improvements: $17,000

In fact, the mayor’s speech was called a “Case Study in Resilience” in honor of how the city has bounced back from the pandemic.

“Resilience not only describes the City of East Moline as an organization over the past two years, it also describes this community and how we have weathered change over the past several decades,” he added.

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