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Visitors, shoppers and local residents have a new place to help them get to know the Quad Cities. That place is an updated and transformed historic building with a rich history in the region. The new Union Station Destination Center, at 102 S. Harrison St., Davenport, got an official public welcome with an open house on Tuesday, Nov. 29. More than 100 people visited the updated and renovated Union Station that is now a visitors’ center, welcome center and shopping center with one big goal in mind – to make sure visitors have a positive experience in the Quad Cities. “Visitor experience is a pillar for Visit Quad Cities and how visitors and residents engage with us either through our digital platforms or through face-to-face connection is important to our regional destination’s future,” said Dave Herrell, president and CEO, Visit Quad Cities, in a statement before Tuesday’s open house. During the celebration, Mr. Herrell called the new center a great collaboration between Visit Quad Cities and the Downtown Davenport Partnership group that will help bring people to the region and help them have a positive experience. That positive experience is vital because visitors who get great customer service in a community tend to spend more money here and return to the area, he added. “A lot of time and effort has gone into the Union Station. … We are here value-engineering Union Station,” he said. The Union Station Destination Center, which has been open for about two weeks, has a variety of features and technology. New technology includes charging cubes for phones/laptops and an Idea Lab that is prepared for community meetings with new A/V such as a projector, screen, smart TV, and conference phone. During the open house, promotional videos of the Quad Cities were played for visitors. After viewing one, a visitor said: “These are cool videos. It makes you proud to be a Quad Citian.” The updated Union Station also has new design elements by Edwards Creative and is the first phase of the building transformation. The decor includes new outdoor signage, a new desk complete with river rocks, repurposed station benches that are now display shelves for QC swag, and an interactive wall that includes a dry erase space for visitors to leave favorite recommendations, testimonials, staff-led suggestions, and a video wall component. One wall also includes the word “Welcome” in hundreds of languages. There are also many items for shoppers looking for all things related to the Quad Cities. They include cups, shirts, hats, water bottles and books about the region. Books include the new “100 Things To Do In The Quad Cities Before You Die” by Jonathan Turner. There will also be free bicycle rentals during the warmer months. “Union Station is now alive. … This is a proud day,” said Davenport Mayor Mike Matson during Tuesday’s open house. This is also a homecoming for Visit Quad Cities. The organization called Union Station home for years before moving to the RiverCenter around 2015. Mr. Herrell said that in 2018 he approached city officials about Visit Quad Cities moving back to the building because of its location and historic value to the community. “We are just so excited about this moment. … There is still a lot of work to be done here. But we feel this is a great place to be. We are trying to do something fun, vibrant and colorful,” he added. Many who attended the open house also said they are happy about Union Station getting new life as a destination center. (The two-story brick building’s history dates back to the 1920s when it was used for passenger train service.) Kai Swanson, a lifelong Quad Cities resident and community leader, said he has great memories of train depots and their connections to the community. It’s a great thing to see such historic places now being used in “creative and vital” ways, he said. “The building just sparks so many stories. And we have great stories in the Quad Cities,” Mr. Swanson added, as he pointed out a whiteboard in the center that highlights some of the region’s history. That board outlined bridge history in the region under the label “Trusted tales of the Quad Cities.” Some of those tales included the history of the Centennial Bridge and other spans in the area. Mr. Swanson said he hopes the new Union Station Destination Center will help teach visitors and local residents some local history as well as showcasing the region’s new features. The Union Station Destination Center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. The phone number is (800) 747-7800. There is also a destination center in Moline at 1601 River Drive, Suite 110. The administration offices of Visit Quad Cities remain in the Moline site. There are plans for a center in downtown Rock Island near the Holiday Inn at 226 17th St. Mr. Herrell said he is not sure when the Rock Island center will open, but hopes it will be sometime next year.