Today, members of the Urban Land Institute Advisory Panel unveiled plans for revitalizing downtown Moline — plans that include a zipline across the Mississippi, a skateboarding park under the I-74 bridge, and converting the Spiegel building into a live-work space for artists.
ULI Panelist Dan Anderton proposes sectioning off part of the river basin for year-round recreation.
“It would allow room for hockey, ice-skating, all those kind of uses in the winter, and then in the summer, it could be small boat traffic, kayaks, paddle-boats, whatever. Flanking that water basin, you’re seeing the potential for kiosk retail.”
Panelist Tom Murphy is a former three-term mayor of Pittsburgh. During his tenure, he led a similar revitalization effort at a time when population and revenue were down.
“So, I understand the hesitancy, I understand people’s skepticism about it, I understand the challenges of financing. I know it can be done.”
Murphy says of the 1.5 billion dollars it cost to renovate Pittsburgh, less than a million dollars of city operating money was used. He says Moline can follow suit, if the city can be creative in drawing funding from different public and private sources.
The ULI Advisory Panel is funded by the City of Moline, the Deere Foundation, and MetroLINK.