The City of East Moline hosted its annual State of the City Address in The Bend Event Center on Thursday.
East Moline Mayor Reggie Freeman took the opportunity to share the business developments in the city.
Putting the focus on the Bend and Rustbelt, Mayor Freeman said, “Yes, these are critical developments to our success moving forward and are starting to pay dividends for the city. “
Speaking of the local businesses — Midwest Ale Works, Jennie’s Box Car, Revival Mane, Iron + Grain Coffee House and the Foundation fitness facility — Mayor Reggie called them “tremendous additions” to the city.
He also mentioned other additions to The Bend — the Hyatt Place and Hyatt House, the Event Center, the Combine restaurant and Murphy Park.
The Bend has an additional development in the works. A group of local investors have come together to create a 100,000+ square foot exposition center, which will be primarily used by a nationally known auction company.
Going forward, the mayor said this year’s focus “will be on creating a physical linkage between these new developments and our downtown area.”
“This physical linkage will likely use lighting, pavement features and multi-use paths to draw not only vehicular traffic to the downtown but also pedestrians and bicyclists.”
Tim Knanishu, Executive Vice President of Redeem East Moline, also spoke at the event. According to Knanishu, the city has received investments of over $60 million in projects in the past few years, creating 200 jobs.
Floods in Watertown
Addressing the flooding in Watertown, the mayor said that the city staff has submitted a grant application to assist the city in a long-term solution to the flooding of residential properties in the area. The city also plans to encourage the construction of infill housing in place of substandard housing.
On commercial development, the city has plans that call for the development of a 800,000 square foot build-out of the John Deere facility. The mayor also mentioned the revamping of the old McKinley School Apartments on 3rd Avenue and 20th Street that have been bought by an investor.
The mayor shared the recent and new developments in the Uptown area. Taco John’s in the Ridgewood Shopping Center at 667 Avenue of the Cities will be coming soon. He also mentioned the World Food Market that came to East Moline in 2018. The city also looks forward to working with the new owners of Reynold’s Ford, My New Ford, who took over the business in early January.
Speaking of the construction delays on 7th Street in East Moline, the mayor said, “While the
construction delays were cumbersome, I think we can agree that the end product is a vast improvement.”
Talking about the developments in Downtown, the mayor mentioned the recent and upcoming developments in the area.
The owner of Doc’s Inn in Silvis, John Stopolous, has purchased a property at 726/728/734 15th Avenue with the intention of opening a restaurant and bar with an “open air” concept.
The mayor welcomed Damion’s Rib Haven that opened at 907 15th Avenue this past summer. Breakfast at Berries in LeClaire is also coming to East Moline, right next to Damion’s, the mayor said. A home interiors shop Dona Vitae, at 836 15th Avenue, was also in the list of recent developments.
The mayor thanked TBK Bank, who will donate the old bank building to the East Moline Library after the construction of a new facility at 1523 8th Street is complete.
The mayor also welcomed the specialty construction firm, Twin Shores Management LLC, located at the former East Moline Glass building at 1333 13th Street.
The mayor shared his plans of bringing renewed interest to the athletic fields at Jacob’s Park.
“In my opinion, youth sports play a critical role in developing our youth and keeping them out of trouble,” Mayor Freeman said.
Buildings on the former McLaughlin Body Co. Property will soon be occupied by two businesses, one of which is a distribution warehouse and logistics center. Another business is a new manufacturing company that will specialize in re-manufacturing recycled plastic into other forms of plastic products.
The East Moline Industrial Park has a number of expansion plans, according to Knansihu, leaving just six city-owned lots for development.
The residential apartments in The Bend are near completion, and the first planned building containing 72 market rate apartments will be available this spring.
The Quarter, along with a local developer, “is interested in building residential townhomes that will provide great views and access to the riverfront,” said Knanishu.
Illinois 5 & 92 corridor developments
Two projects are planned at the Illinois 5 and 92 corridor, one of which will require extension of water and sewer capability. The second project will be “a high visibility commercial.”