New law will give Moline first right of refusal to buy acres of land around old I-74 bridge | Politics and elections

The city of Moline celebrates the passage of a bill that will give the city first right to purchase several acres of waterfront land that will become available when the old Interstate 74 bridge is demolished.

House Bill 5205 was signed into law Friday by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker. The legislation gives Illinois municipalities the right to obtain surplus property that the Illinois Department of Transportation does not need for highway projects.

Sponsored by State Representative Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, HB5205 will be effective January 1, 2023.

“This was a collaborative effort between the City of Moline, Illinois Department of Transportation, Renew Moline and the Illinois State General Assembly,” Halpin said. “This will ultimately bring new jobs and new investment throughout the Quad-Cities region. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Approximately 13.5 acres will become available under and around the old I-74 bridge, but the land is divided into 16 separate, disconnected parcels.

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Renew Moline, a nonprofit economic development organization, worked with the Urban Land Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that provides land-use planning advice, to design concepts and uses for waterfront property over a period of several months.

“I’m excited for what they have in store for us going forward, knowing that now is a possibility,” Halpin said. “When we have a major infrastructure project like the I-74 Bridge, it’s important that we make sure its local governments have the tools to develop the property when that project is complete.”

The main idea of ​​the reclaimed land includes a commercial and recreation area called Mill Town Basin, which will be located west of the new I-74 bridge and will include an outdoor amphitheater, shops, restaurants, a skate park, an ice rink and a fire. pits with seats.

Moline Mayor Sangeetha Rayapati said ideas for a proposed zip line and giant spout were “not approved” by council members in January, but said the city welcomes community feedback about ideas for available land.

“Having the ability to secure excess properties not needed for the I-74 bridge allows us to effectively plan the redevelopment of this area,” Rayapati said. “Some properties will serve to create beautiful public spaces and connections to our riverbank, others will be assembled in partnership with others for private development.

“All of this will be done in cooperation with the community who have been so generous with their time to help provide feedback and ideas on Moline’s future vision.”

Alexandra Elias, CEO and President of Renew Moline, expressed her gratitude for Halpin’s bill and the benefits it provides to Moline. Prior to the bill, Elias said surplus Illinois state-owned property would be offered for public sale.

“Offering the property to the local government first gives the city confidence that it can implement the vision approved by the community,” Elias said.

“That kind of opportunity doesn’t come around very often in inner cities,” Halpin said. “There are a lot of open spaces right in the heart of downtown and the city has the ability to shape its own vision. Most cities don’t have that opportunity these days. The city and Renew Moline have made everything they could to be prepared for this exact moment.”

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