THIS WEEK: What to do with downtown Moline

The Urban Land Institute is bring outside eyes to plans for downtown Moline development.

MOLINE, Illinois - A non-profit group called the Urban Land Institute plans to hold community panels next year to help steer future development of downtown Moline when the Interstate 74 bridge is completed in 2022.

When the new bridge is finished and the old bridge is dismantled, there will be 13 acres of prime real estate available, linking downtown Moline with the riverfront.

Former Pittsburgh mayor Tom Murphy is a Senior Fellow with the Urban Land Institute and said downtown Moline already has some key attractions.

"You have hundreds of thousands of people coming to Moline every year to see the John Deere Pavilion, the TaxSlayer Center.  They're not staying," he said during "This Week with Jim Mertens".

Murphy says the city needs to develop its destination points to make people visit and stay downtown.

It also needs to create a plan that brings private investment to the area.

"People want to be a part of something," he said.

"If a company says 'I want to come here, then I want to know whose going to be next to me'."

The Institute plans to bring outside experts to Moline in the year ahead to provide an "outsider's view" of what could be developed in the city.

A big component is making the area more pedestrian friendly and the riverfront more accessible.

And finding more living space downtown.

He says people in cities big and small are looking for places to live in the heart of the community.  But only if there is easily accessible amenities.

"We're watching a remarkable change and what Moline and every city needs to do is to figure out how to get in front of that."