Moline city, business and community leaders are knee-deep in planning a “Moline 150” celebration they say not only will mark the city’s historic past but help usher in a brighter tomorrow. “The 150th is a reason to look back, but more importantly, a reason to celebrate all that is ahead of us as a community,” […]
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Moline city, business and community leaders are knee-deep in planning a “Moline 150” celebration they say not only will mark the city’s historic past but help usher in a brighter tomorrow.
“The 150th is a reason to look back, but more importantly, a reason to celebrate all that is ahead of us as a community,” said Moline Sesquicentennial Celebration Committee member Neil Dahlstrom. The John Deere branded properties and heritage manager added, “The celebration will showcase the resiliency, vibrancy and diversity of the people and places that make up Moline and the entire Quad Cities.”
For Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati, “The Moline 150 celebration is the perfect event to bring our community together to celebrate our history, validate our present and look forward to our future. Coming out of pandemic mitigations with a celebration of this type is the perfect jolt of economic activity for our town as well. It should be a wonderful series of days for Moline.”
Though planning still is in its early stages, broad outlines of the community-wide, free, family-friendly celebration are beginning to take shape. The Moline City Council budgeted $150,000 for the event and fundraising is ongoing for Moline Sesquicentennial Week, which is planned for Monday, Aug. 22, to Monday, Aug. 29.
Quad Citians are encouraged to watch for the Moline150.com website to go live with information, announcements and volunteer opportunities.
According to Geoff Manis, Moline Main Street manager, “Most certainly, one aspect of what we’re calling Moline 150 is going to be that historical storytelling that is already very much an active and vibrant thing” thanks to historic preservationists in the region.
It is a history well worth exploring, preservationists say. The area now known as Moline first was platted as a town in 1843. That was the same year inventor John Deere relocated his innovative steel plow company to the new town’s riverfront. In 1848, the area known as Moline was incorporated as a village. Moline preservationists staged a 150th anniversary celebration in 1998 to mark that occasion.
It wasn’t until Aug. 29, 1872, however, that the “City” of Moline officially was surveyed and recorded. Mr. Deere became its second mayor in 1873.
Those stories will be shared in the months ahead, and so will others about the people and things that have impacted the community.
Under the direction of Ms. Rayapati, inclusiveness will be a key element of the historic storytelling, said Tory Brecht, the city’s communications coordinator and a member of the celebration committee. That story stretches back to the Pre-Columbian Native Americans and through all the groups who settled there.
One of the celebration’s “overarching themes,” Mr. Brecht said, is how the community has “come together through the strength of all of its different groups to make Moline what it is today.”
Moline’s new Public Arts Commission also is exploring ways to tell the city’s story through placemaking and interactive public art.
Meanwhile, music and food are expected to be on the menu at the city’s birthday bash, according to the consultants working to bring both to a three-day downtown Moline-wide celebration.
“Hive Event Consulting is excited to be a part of this historic event,” said Kate Dale, who runs the Quad Cities agency along with partner Jason Gilliland.
“As a Moliner myself, we jumped at the chance to work with and celebrate the city that I grew up in,” Ms. Dale said. “Hive has planned festivals all over the QC, but this will be a first for us to do something in Moline, and we look forward to bringing some top-tier entertainment downtown for all QC residents to enjoy.”
Ms. Dale, the former director of entertainment for River Music Experience, Davenport, and Mr. Gilliland, director of events for the Downtown Davenport Partnership and a Moline 150 committee member, are well connected in the entertainment industry, Mr. Brecht said.
Ms. Dale said the city’s downtown celebration is planned for Thursday, Aug. 25, through Saturday, Aug. 27. “Residents and visitors can expect live music over those three days from local, regional, and national musical talent, alongside supporting plenty of food trucks, restaurants, and community organizations. All events will be free to the public and are family friendly,” she said.
In addition, she said, “While this is a celebration for the City of Moline, our hope is that all Quad Cities residents and tourists from the region will join us for the festivities, to rally in support of the great culture and rich history that Moline has built over the last 150 years.”
As for embracing the city’s future, the Moline 150 downtown celebration’s location also “dovetails nicely with the new I-74 redevelopment program,” Mr. Manis said. “People will start to see the past and the future all coming together.”
For many leaders including City Administrator Bob Vitas, that is an essential component of Moline 150. “As the city celebrates its Sesquicentennial in August 2022, we will commemorate the city’s glorious past history, present day success, and launch plans for a bright new future for all Moliners and Quad Citizens,” Mr. Vitas said. “Moline significantly paved the way the last 150 years and going forward will be a catalyst for new growth and development for all future generations.”