Area professionals talked openly about their dreams for the Moline riverfront at River Vision 2020 on Thursday night.
With new opportunities for the city on the horizon, employees of the city, Western Illinois University and local businesses hashed out a priority list of future attractions and accommodations they would like to see.
They covered a broad range of topics but most commonly sought new ways to accent the scenic attributes of the Mississippi River and discussed how to increase accessibility along the river.
Linda Martin, who helps secure grants with the Moline Foundation, noted that, unlike other metropolitan areas, the Quad-Cities is fortunate to have a body of water to "reach out and touch."
"You don't have a levy or a big wall," she said. "It's just there."
Adding restaurants along the riverway appealed to Ms. Martin. It also was one of the more popular ideas among the group.
Bicycling enthusiast Dan McNeil wanted to see Moline encourage more recreational activities along the river. A program director for River Action Inc., Mr. McNeil proposed the city "expand and enhance the Great River Trail" by adding "e-bike" terminals that would benefit both tourists and commuters.
Used in other metropolitan areas, the program rents bikes using electronic payment. The bicycles potentially could be returned to hubs near Channel Cat Taxi docks, he said. With the planned addition of a passenger rail station in downtown Moline, Mr. McNeil said the service would encourage out-of-towners to enjoy the riverfront's scenery.
Debra Roche, a broker with Barker Roche Real Estate in Moline, backed plans to make the river more bicycle-friendly. She noted additional lighting also would appeal to cyclists wanting to enjoy the view.
"We're laid out differently than other parts of the country," she said. "The sun rises and sets on the Mississippi."
Joseph Rives, WIU vice president for Quad-Cities and planning, said Moline sits with its "back to the river" when it should be showcasing its "greatest asset."The WIU Riverfront Campus, slated to expand westward this year, will be situated to "face and celebrate the river," he said.
Moline recently received a $100,000 grant to update three conceptual land use plans that include all riverfront property in the city.
Meetings are planned Feb. 28 and March 14 to further discuss the future of the Moline riverfront. Moline city planner Jeff Anderson said the city and Renew Moline will funnel feedback from the meetings into the updated plans.
Today is Sunday, April 20, the 110th day of 2014. There are 255 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The attention of contractors is called to proposals for building a magazine. The building is to be erected on the south side of the island, above the railroad, nearly opposite Sinnit's ice houses. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Ladies patent leather tip shoes were selling for $3 at the M & K store, and men's spring overcoats were advertised at $7.50. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Fred Feuchter, of Davenport, was elected president of the Tri-City Post Office Clerks club, and Joe Goldsmith, of Rock Island, was named secretary treasurer. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Mass vaccination of more than 1,600 employed of the Rock Island Arsenal has been ordered by Col. Norman Ramsey after a 13-year-old daughter of the Arsenal manager became ill with smallpox. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The 1964 Scout-O-Rama of the Sac-Fox Council of Boy Scouts closed a two-day session last evening at the Rock Island Armory with 5,000 paid attendance. 1989 -- 25 years ago: "From the horse and buggy days ... to this" said Mercer County Sheriff Marvin Thirtyacre, waving his hand to indicate the sheriff's department facilities at the new $1.5 million Mercer County Jail in Aledo.