EM economic development plan gets initial approval


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Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2014, 11:01 pm
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By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com
EAST MOLINE -- Aldermen at a Tuesday night committee-of-the-whole meeting gave initial approval to a strategic economic development plan.

The plan lays out some starting goals for the city, such as developing a funding stream to pay for an East Moline economic development director, creating a city marketing plan and developing a "brand identity" for East Moline, according to a report on the measure.

The vote to approve was unanimous with Ald. Helen Heiland, 1st Ward, not present.

East Moline Mayor John Thodos said the city has been without an economic director for some time because of budget constraints. The position still exists, but has not been funded.

East Moline's economic development concerns have been divided, according to Mayor Thodos and city administrator Cole O'Donnell. They handle some, while Revitalize and Develop East Moline, which help develop the plan, handles others.

"One person needs to be focused on (economic development)," Mayor Thodos said.

Mr. O'Donnell said economic development director candidates with less experience probably would start between $45,000 and $50,000. As experience increases, the pay they would expect to receive also would go up.

The economic development plan also suggests other goals for the city and some of its economic strengths. Potential goals include an assessment of housing needs and conditions and identifying cultural events and business opportunities that can be drawn from the city's diversity.

Among East Moline's assets listed in the plan are available land and property, connections to major highways and frontage along the Mississippi River.

The Bi-State Regional Commission, the special service area for the city's downtown and East Moline Main Street also helped develop the plan. The committee that created the plan now will work on developing ways to carry out its goals.

Mr. O'Donnell said aldermen will have final approval of any measures suggested in the plan. The plan still must have a final vote during a city council meeting.

The strategic economic development plan cost about $6,000 from general fund, he said.

An agreement that could have allowed development of the former Case-IH property to move forward was not presented at Tuesday's city council meeting as expected.

The River Eagle group, which includes state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, and Dan Murphy, bought the site in 2010 for $1.5 million with plans to turn it into a $150 million multi-use development called Fountainhead of the Quad Cities.

The proposed development agreement will govern how revenue generated by the project's tax increment financing district, Port of Call, will be handled. The agreement has been under negotiation for several months.

Mr. O'Donnell said some final details are still being ironed out, and both sides needed more time.

















 



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