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Proposals for old I-74 bridge space unveiled Tuesday

Renew Moline leaders presented several options to the community Tuesday, including a skate park, a space to highlight the river and an arts space.

MOLINE, Ill. — Moline is envisioning a very different downtown once the old I-74 bridge is removed.

It is an issue the City of Moline wants to tackle with unique features that will draw people to a more public waterfront and arts space. It's a question many have asked for months: What is going to happen with that space under the old bridge?

"We were really asking people what would make it interesting for you to come down and experience our waterfront," Renew Moline President Alexandra Elias said.

Renew Moline is an organization leading the effort to redesign Moline's downtown riverfront.

"This is really the first time we have offered the public to specifically come and tell us what they think," Elias said.

Tuesday's initial proposals included a skate park, a space to highlight the river with some water features and an arts space.

"The redevelopment in this I-74 zone has quite a bit of vacant property in it, but it also has a few buildings in it that we think have the potential to be arts-based spaces," Elias said.

Credit: Renew Moline

The proposal was a lot to take in for community members, including Moline resident Jake Ford.

"I think all these projects have great legs," Ford said.

He commented on nearly every proposal, leaving his suggestions for Renew Moline leaders to consider.

"On some of these other more specific projects I wrote about, I’ve been to Minneapolis before and seeing an indoor farmers market that’ll cycle local vendors in," Ford said.

Ford said he wants to see more affordable housing within the redesign, as well as updated, modern office space that fits the needs of a 21st century workforce.

Moline is also taking inspiration from right down the street at Schwiebert Park in Rock Island.

"I think the thoughtfulness that went into that design is really something we want to emulate and make it special for Moline," Elias said.

"It’s going to be a confluence of different things," Ford said. "There’s not going to be just one silver bullet that turns Moline into a destination."

There is still time to voice your opinions on the initial project proposals. Renew Moline leaders are hosting a virtual public input meeting Wednesday, Oct. 6, from noon until 1 p.m. You can register for that meeting on Zoom here.

Once the virtual meeting concludes, the Renew Moline leaders will compile all of the feedback and suggestions to create a report. That report will then be delivered to Moline's city administrator, mayor and city council.