Posted Online: Feb. 09, 2010, 9:58 am

East Moline

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By Lindsay Hocker, lhocker@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Stephanie Makosky
East Moline 4th Ward Alderman, Cheri Bustos, stands in front of the digital welcome sign near a Mother Hubbard's Cupboard gas station off of 18th Avenue, in East Moline. The new sign will be used to to welcome visitors, announce important meetings, congratulate local sports teams and the like. "We think it's a nice little way to come into the city and let people know what's going on," Alderman Bustos said.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Stephanie Makosky
East Moline 4th Ward Alderman, Cheri Bustos, stands in front of the digital welcome sign near a Mother Hubbard's Cupboard gas station off of 18th Avenue, in East Moline. The new sign will be used to to welcome visitors, announce important meetings, congratulate local sports teams and the like. "We think it's a nice little way to come into the city and let people know what's going on," Alderman Bustos said.
Those entering EastMoline from the east soon will be welcomed by a brightly lit sign.

Placed on a triangular patch of land at 11th Street and 18th Avenue, near Mother Hubbard's Cupboard gas station, the new sign is expected to be running sometime this week.

"It's a great way to greet people coming into our town,"Scott Feldt, East Moline's director of economic development, said.

In June 2009, the council authorized Main Street of East Moline to place the sign's base there. The base was paid for with an $11,000 grant State Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, helped the Main Street group secure.

The sign itself has a price tag of about $40,000, also paid with grant money. The funds used were part of an almost $250,000 federal grant U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., helped the city get for downtown improvements.

Ald. Cheri Bustos, 4th Ward, helped obtain that grant. She said the sign is the first project the grant money has been used for, and that the money was received in the fall of 2009.

"Without that grant, we wouldn't have been able to make this happen," she said.

The next step is installing software, which will allow city officials to send messages to the sign as often as they would like.

"It can be done from the comfort of city hall,"Ald. Bustos said.

Ald. Bustos said the messages will appear in multi-colored LED lights and can include images.

The sign will announce community and downtown events, and also could be used for holiday messages and weather advisories.

Officials are considering allowing people to rent the sign for family announcements (such as birthdays and anniversaries). Mr. Feldt said guidelines for this still are being considered, and there are no plans to allow business advertisements.

Ald. Bustos said talk of getting a sign like this one goes back five years, which is before she became an alderman. She said the sign is a nice addition to the city she's excited about.