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."
Today is Wednesday, March 12, the 71st day of 2014. There are 294 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Soldiers from the barracks on the Arsenal manage to elude the vigilance of the guard nearly every day and come to town armed. In the hands of excited and perhaps intoxicated men, these weapons are dangerous. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Manufacturing's merchants and professional men of Moline were petitioning the Western Union Telegraph company to establish a telegraph office in the business area of the city. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Three Rock Island students, the Misses Eleanor Cleaveland, Dorothy McCabe and Ruth West, escaped injury when fire destroyed College Hall at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War gave a party for William H. Stremmel, the only survivor of John Buford Post 243, GAR. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The East Moline Grade School Board of Education last night granted salary increases totaling about $47,000 to teachers and staff members. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Five champion spellers from the Rock Island/Milan School district were selected after competition this week at Modern Woodmen of America. Winners are Sarah Cottay, Christopher Gilbrich, Jared Vogele, Kedric Roper and Kenny Stevenson.