June 24, 2005

Moline's Bass St. Landing residential development set to begin

A development group composed of a local realtor, a local contractor, and a third partner is set to begin construction of residential units on land formallly owned by the city, now dubbed "Bass Street Landing."

The history of the land is of interest. While being basically a blighted area for years, the city tore down some buildings and created a very nice greenspace in the area many years ago. It included dredging out a small pond which connected to the Sylvan Slough and the construction of a beautiful wooden gazebo in it's center which was accessible by bridge walkways. The pond was planted with water lilys as well. Private donations financed much of this project.

The area was under used and prone to vandalism, and the city neglected it completely and it fell into disrepair. When the latest wave of speculation began, the city spent more money to tear down the gazebo and fill in the pond, thus opening the way for development. The local rowing club then built a huge facility nearby.

Now, Chuck Ruhl, president of NAI Ruhl & Ruhl; Kent Pilcher, president of Estes Construction; and Tom LaSalle, president of LaSalle Group have bought the land and have already built "River Station", the building which currently houses the very upscale "Blue Ribbon" restaurant. (avg. price for dinner, around $100 a head.) Now they are set to begin the residential component of their design.

In order to provide benefits to the widest possible segment of city's residents, or at least to people worth at least a million dollars, the townhouses planned will start at over a quarter million dollars, around $275,000, and go up from there. Yet another example of the true egalitarian spirit which has dominated city planning for decades. COUGH

So the city has forfeited prime riverfront property, sold it to connected developers who have so far and will continue to devote the land for the exclusive use of the wealthy. How civic minded of the leaders of Moline, don't you think? They've now effectively sealed off the entire riverfront in the downtown area from residents. The nearest public access is the Butterworth parkway, and the only reason that exists is that it's impossible to develop money making projects on a strip of land only 100 ft wide. If River Dr. didn't happen to be where it is along that stretch, it would likely be one unended string of condos and private homes and there would be no where for residents to access the river.

The city has traded industrial plants which choked off the riverfront for private development which does the same. Public spaces were either never planned or cast aside, which is incredibly stupid and short-sighted in my humble opinion.

Moline residents should all give thanks for the inclusive and far-sighted vision of the city leaders. Now yet another area of riverfront will be off limits to the people who once owned the land, namely, everyone taxpayer in the city who aren't in the market for a quarter million dollar (or more) condo.

I don't recall the Mayor or council asking the citizens of Moline, the former owners of this land, whether they wanted to sell it to private developers, or did I miss that part?

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At 6/24/2005 2:41 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

I think you're painting an overly bad picture. I'll be accessing the riverfront this weekend dueing Taste of the QC, and I don't plan to have any rich people stopping me. Most of the Commons is fairly accessible to the commoners.

I guess people only get riled up when its a casino that wants to build along the riverfront.


At 6/24/2005 3:14 PM, Blogger politicalwind said...

Ms. Dope, you are mistaken on this issue with all due respect to you.

The city is opening up more riverfront for creative use -- live music, band shells, marina action, etc., at the Bass Street location. When you walk behind the Blue Ribbon, there is a wide open pavillion that will be open to the public. That is just the beginning of the new opportunities for the public to enjoy the riverfront under this plan.

You need to do a bit more homework before jumping off the deep end on the riverfront issues.

At 6/25/2005 7:38 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

QCI, you can wander around all you want at the Taste event, but you're not on the river, unless you count being a block away with huge buildings blocking any view being "on the river".

And I'm talking about picnic tables, etc. Someplace which people can spend some time, not just walk past or stand around on some paved chunk of land for a minute and then leave. Why would anyone go there? There's nothing to do.

And Windy, I think I'm sticking with my views. Paving a little square back in that area does not constitute public access to the river.

Apparently you two think access to the river means being able to get somewhere near it.

That's not river access. I'm talking about having easily accessible green space along the river... the river bank, not a block away.

We'll see just how open and easily accessible this Bass St. Landing thing is. I bet it's rarely if ever used by the public and will only be a magnet for kids and winos, due to it's isolated and impractical design.

Hope I'm wrong, but I doubt it.

At 6/25/2005 11:54 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Well... last time I went to Taste of the QC I watched the fireworks from the railing along the river, so I hardly consider that a block away. Maybe they've changed the boundaries of the even since 2 years ago. As far as I know, you can still access the river behind all of the development down there. I'm not necessarily defending anything, I just feel like there is at least some riverfront access.


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