Originally Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2012, 9:28 pm
Last Updated: Dec. 11, 2012, 10:52 pm

Society seeks depot decision delay

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By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Mizener
A small sign left at the front door of the historical Moline depot on Sept. 27, 2012. The Moline Preservation Society hopes to save the 112-year-old Davenport, Rock Island & Northwestern depot which is in the way of the planned new Interstate 74 bridge.

The Moline Preservation Society wants the city to give it more time to raise the money needed to save an historic railroad depot.

The $155,000 effort to move the DRI & NW Depot in Moline received a $2,500 boost Tuesday from the state's largest historic preservation agency, Landmarks Illinois. But with a Dec. 18 deadline set by the Moline City Council approaching, society member Neil Dahlstrom asked aldermen for more time.

The depot at 2012 River Drive must be demolished or moved to make way for a new Interstate 74 bridge. In early October, aldermen decided to delay a vote on selling the depot and land to the Illinois Department of Transportation to give the society time to raise money to move the depot.

Western Illinois University Riverfront Campus has offered to take the depot and spend $358,800 to restore it and use it as visitors center. IDOT has said it will spend up to $1 million to buy the land and depot from Moline, and on its relocation.

However, IDOT said Moline must cover some other costs, mainly utility disconnections and re-connections, which were estimated to be $155,000.

On Tuesday, Mr. Dahlstrom said the society has gathered almost $80,000 in pledges and in-kind contributions in nine weeks. Supporthas come in pledges ranging from $1 to a $16,000 in-kind contribution by a plumber.

The society has seven grants pending, he said, and wants to reach out to railroad groups, individuals and foundations after the holidays.

"This is something I believe we can continue to build on and, with a little bit more time, we can make the $155,000 a reality," Mr. Dahlstrom said.

Mr. Dahlstrom, however, could not give a firm date of when it would have the funding. He said the society needs more information from the state and city, and the earliest it will learn if it was awarded a grant is May.

Ald. Sean Liddell, 7th Ward, said he was told WIU will spend $2 million to build a visitor's center if the depot is not moved to the Riverfront campus. He questioned why WIU won't bridge the funding gap to obtain the depot.

Mr. Dahlstrom said he could not confirm a new building cost but said the society would like the opportunity to continue discussions with the university.

Ald. Stephanie Acri, At-Large, also asked city staff for information on the cost of delaying light installation on the street now under construction behind the university. City staff have said those lights, if installed now, would have to be removed if the depot eventually is moved, increasing the relocation costs.

Ald. Acri also asked the society to return to next week's council meeting with a specific time extension request.

In other business:

— Moline Park Board member Roger Clawson reported the city has received the James Farrell Award of Excellence from the Amateur Softball Association of America for holding one of its highest rated tournaments. Moline hosted ASA tournaments in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and this summer. Mr. Clawson said the award was based on the facilities at Green Valley Sports Complex, amenities, hotels and community support. Park and recreation director Laura Duran also announced Moline will host the ASA 16U "A" Girls' Fast Pitch Northern National Tournament in 2014.

— The council approved the 2013 appropriations ordinance and budget, each set at $130.6 million. The appropriations ordinance gives the city authority to spend revenue it collects throughout the year.

— The city council approved a new nuisance ordinance that outlines how Moline will deal with nuisance property owners. The city had an ordinance that addressed building violations and vegetation; the new ordinance also addresses criminal activity.