East Moline’s Greater Downtown Revitalization Project took another critical step forward with the launch of a website that urges the community to help “create a more beautiful, inviting greater downtown area.”
The website, DowntownEastMoline.com, was unveiled on Wednesday, Oct. 11, and it “puts the power of community engagement at the heart of its Greater Downtown Revitalization Project,” according to a news release announcing the project.
Once planning and public engagement is complete, the city’s ambitious timeline includes developing final designs for improvements by the end of 2024 and starting construction in 2025.
Throughout the process the new website will provide information and updates for residents and other interested parties about East Moline’s long-awaited revitalization plan.
Connection a priority
One of that plan’s top goals is to improve connections between the 15th Avenue downtown core, the 12th Avenue Rust Belt area and The Bend at the riverfront.
The revitalization project’s tagline featured prominently on the website is “Connect. Grow. Thrive.” And it’s designed to highlight the project’s aim to connect the greater downtown areas, encourage future economic growth, and create a more vibrant, thriving community.
“The lack of connections and cohesive landscaping between our downtown, The Rust Belt area and The Bend create both a physical and visual barrier for residents and visitors to explore our great city,” Mayor Reggie Freeman said in the release. “We now have an amazing opportunity to create a more beautiful, inviting greater downtown area.”
To get there, the greater downtown project – which is being funded by a $23.7 million federal RAISE grant – expects to build on the city’s 2020 Greater Downtown Streetscape Master Plan. For years, East Moline leaders had pursued a Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant to help it transform this critical area of East Moline.
Last year’s grant approval followed an extraordinary three-year effort by a team of East Moline staff leaders led by Director of Engineering Tim Kammler, who called the grant’s approval last August “a game-changer” for the city,
The Master Plan on which the successful grant is based prioritizes such things as pedestrian-friendly connections, safer railroad crossings, landscaping, outdoor event spaces and artistic touches that enhance the look and feel of the area, the news release said.
What comes next?
During this initial phase, public engagement about what the plan should contain will be critical. Throughout this year and 2024, the project team will gather input from the public and key stakeholders to assist in refining the proposed improvements.
The next step will be to refine the proposed improvements and develop final plans for construction. With the help of a consultant team led by Crawford, Murphy, & Tilly (CMT), designs are currently being developed.
Until then, the website will encourage community involvement and provide a window into the project’s progress. It’s launch also is a pivotal accomplishment for involving the public in shaping the greater downtown transformation, the release said.
“The website is a collaborative space that empowers our residents and business owners to get involved in the future of East Moline,” the mayor added. “We’re excited to show what’s unfolding as we work together to create a greater downtown we can all be proud of.”
The community is urged to follow the website because it will provide updates on proposed improvements, public meeting dates and other announcements that will keep residents informed of progress. And the public is encouraged to subscribe for updates and submit thoughts and questions.
Public meetings also are planned in 2024 to allow residents and business owners to take a deeper dive into the project’s developments, review the proposed improvements’ details and provide feedback to the project team.
Who are the team leaders?
The project has been driven by a large group of East Moline leaders and residents from the beginning. They include these members of the project team driving the master plan:
- Ally Fields, project lead, liaison, Crawford Murphy & Tilly, prime consultant.
- Emily Munday, project manager, Crawford Murphy & Tilly.
- Roger Driskell, project principal, Crawford Murphy & Tilly.
- Kristina Kuehling, public information and engagement, Images Inc.
- Reggie Freeman, East Moline mayor.
- Mark Rothert, East Moline city administrator.
- East Moline Finance Director, once hired.
- Tim Kammler, East Moline director of engineering.
- Alderwoman Olivia Dorothy, First Ward.
- Alderman Adam Guthrie, Fourth Ward.
- Tim Knanishu, executive vice president, REDEEM.
- Patricia Hansen, president, East Moline Main Street.
- Larry Anderson, East Moline and Quad Cities developer and owner of East Moline Glass.
AT A GLANCE Greater Downtown
East Moline Revitalization Project:
- CONNECT: East Moline has big plans to CONNECT our Greater Downtown area — Downtown, The Bend, and The Rust Belt area — and design a more beautiful, walkable, and bikeable community.
- GROW: This project is a catalyst for endless possibilities and opportunities for future economic development and GROWth.
- THRIVE: Together, we will create a more vibrant, THRIVING community now and in the future.