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 Wednesday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2014. There are 91 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: It is rumored in the streets that the 13 negroes sent to Quincy on the Moline quota were refused. We think this must be a mistake.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Harvey McKenna, of Detroit, billiard player matched to play Wizard Schafer in New York in January for the world championship, was a professional friend and manager, Billy Catton in Rock Island.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Levi Cralle, former Rock Island county sheriff, had come from his farm near Mitchell, S.D. to visit friends in the city.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Work is being rushed on the new high school building in Orion to replace the one destroyed by fire last winter. Classes are being held in churches.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Rehearsals for the 84th season of the Handel Oratorio Society chorus will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the stage of Centennial Hall, Augustana College.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Rock Island City Council's plan announced this week to have the federal government vacate Valley Homes public housing and move residents to Arsenal Courts to reduce density may not be feasible.

(More History)