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 Friday, March 7, the 66th day of 2014. There are 299 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat came up to her dock yesterday and was punching away at the ice, which is crowded up against the Iowa shore. 1889 -- 125 years ago: J.C. Bromley, of Rock Island, has received a patent on a steam activated valve. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Major. C.W. Hawes, head clerk of the Modern Woodmen of America, was honored by department chiefs on his 73rd birthday 1939 -- 75 years ago: Mayor Robert Galbraith declared that 75 percent of the people here have talked to "favor construction of Rock Island's new city hall in Spencer Square." 1964 -- 50 years ago: C.H. Langman & Sons, Rock Island, has been awarded the general contract for partial rehabilitation and modernization of the main building at the East Moline State Hospital. The Langman firm bid $424,839. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The cost of living in the Quad-Cities is 6.8 percent less than the average of 260 metropolitan areas.