Welvaert touts Moline's development successes in annual address

Originally Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2013, 6:14 pm
Last Updated: Jan. 21, 2013, 10:03 pm
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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

Mayor Don Welvaert said Moline is strong and its future is bright duringhis final State of the City address Monday at the joint Moline Rotary and Kiwanis meeting at the i wireless Center.

After two terms in office, Mayor Welvaert is not seeking re-election; a new mayor will be seated in May.Ald. Scott Raes, 3rd Ward, is the only person who has filed candidacy papers to run for mayor.

"It has been my privilege and honor to serve you. We have accomplished a lot together and moved our city forward in some pretty tough economic times. But we have done it together," Mayor Welvaert said.

The 2013 budget was the first since 2007 to start with a deficit of less than $1 million. Mayor Welvaert said revenue sources improved as the economy began to recover and the four unions agreed to forgo a general wage increase in 2012.

The result was the city was able to balance the budget and maintain its property tax levy in 2013.

The mayor said things will continue to improve as more money becomes available. "The final payment on bonds used to assemble property around Bass Street Landing was made in July 2012. This final payment returns an additional $272,000 annually to the Community Development Block Grant fund."

The city also will make its final $852,000 bond payment on the i wireless Center this year, freeing up more capital improvement money, he said.

The city continues to develop, Mayor Welvaert said.

Opening in the past year were a 200,000 square-foot Menards store, Zimmerman Honda, Green Hyundai and QC Family Fun Center in a vacant furniture store. Projects on the way include a Sam's Club, redevelopment of the former Menards site, a strip mall on U.S. 6 and 150 and a $9 million Genesis medical arts building, he said.

In the downtown, planned development includes a 100-room Hyatt Place hotel at the site of the former Deere Collectors Center and a 75-room extended stay hotel on the upper floors of the passenger rail station, Mayor Welvaert said.

The city continues to work with SouthPark Mall owners on redevelopment of the property, a new Holiday Inn Express is proposed at the Quad City International Airport, construction on phase II of the Western Illinois University Riverfront campus is to start this spring and plans for development on the city-owned land adjacent to the campus should be unveiled later this year, he said.

Developers are now seeking out Moline as a location for their projects, Mayor Welvaert said. "It is a great time for the city of Moline and we have great momentum."

In the past year, the city was recognized for a new, award-winning website; used$630,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to assist homeowners and strengthen the city's housing stock; was recognized with a Governors' Sustainability award for its efforts in recycling, energy efficiency and fleet operations; was recognized by the White House as a participant in the Partnership for Sustainable Communities; and rehabbed 14 homes, built five and demolished 20 abandoned or unfit structures using federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds, he said.

The park and recreation department was honored with the James Farrell Award of Excellence for hosting the best 2012 ASA tournament in the country and secured a 2014 national tournament.

"As I have mentioned before, it's the public/private partnerships and the sense of community that keeps Moline strong. It is the pride that residents, city employees and elected officials have in Moline that has made us a prominent Quad-Cities community," Mayor Welvaert said.

"With everyone pulling in the same direction," he said, "Moline will continue to be a place that businesses and families alike are proud to call home."


Local events heading

  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.

(More History)