April 1, 2006

East Moline Economic "Summit" highlights projects other than Triumph plant.

Various powers that be recently got together for lunch at Short Hills country club to discuss development projects and receive, "updates on key development areas and what public help is available for the private sector."

They're already providing millions in "incentives" already, but apparently they feel they're just not making enough effort to give more public funds to developers. To make it clear, East Moline's point man on these things, assistant city administrator Rich Keehner, whose job seems to consist entirely of finding out how to give more to industry and business from public funds, said, "We want to do projects with you, we're here to develop a relationship with you."

The various development projects proposed or in process as listed in the Dispatch/Argus article are:

  • The former Case New Holland plant - The abandoned CNH plant, which had 2.1 million square feet on 156 acres, closed in 2004. The company is in the process of tearing down the buildings, which should be done by this July. Mr. Keehner said there are developers interested in the site and a real estate marketing firm will help CNH to sell it.

    "We firmly believe that this would be an excellent site for commercial and residential development," he said. Close to the proposed Western Illinois University campus in Moline, it is "a very integral site for the city of East Moline and its future."

  • Great River Industrial Park - The GRIP has experienced "phenomenal growth in the past few years," Mr. Keehner said, noting the new MetroLink bus transfer station and a truss manufacturing company that have built there.

    East Moline Glass is building a new $1.5 million headquarters and will move from downtown, he said. Also, Tempo Marine will move there from Moline and Deb and Larry Toppert will open three businesses at the former city garage, including moving Toppert Jetting Service, an industrial equipment maintenance firm.

  • The Illinois 5 Corridor - "I-5 is our John Deere Road that Moline has," Mr. Keehner said. "I fully expect that this corridor will have commercial, residential, and industrial development by the end of this decade, just as John Deere Road has."

    This is primarily because of the planned pork plant, which is awaiting approval Tuesday from Silvis aldermen to OK the Illinois Quad-City Enterprise Zone. Extending the zone will allow Triumph to save $400,000 in building permit fees and a "staggering" amount from a sales-tax exemption on the purchase of Illinois building materials, Mr. Keehner said.

    The 630,000-square-foot facility is expected to employ 1,000 people within 18 months of opening, at an average wage of $11.75 an hour and an annual payroll of $24 million. Mr. Keehner said just about 10 percent of the workforce will be on production lines slicing and de-boning hogs. Other jobs including truck drivers, packagers, plumbers, electricians, maintenance workers, secretaries, and the like.

    The plant is expected to process 16,000 hogs a day, with 100 truck deliveries a day, Mr. Keehner said.

    The new plant is planned to be part of a Gateway Park tax-increment financing (TIF) district. The 23-year TIF, to help pay for water and sewer infrastructure for the plant, may be approved by the city this year, Mr. Keehner said.

    "There are a lot of expenses involved with this project," he said. East Moline has several TIF districts, including for the GRIP, and they "make those developments happen."

    Finance director Jim Hughes said the success of the North Hill TIF, which helped finance a 100-unit assisted living complex, has spurred development of another 100 units there.

  • The downtown Special Service Area - The first full year of the downtown SSA produced $60,000 in tax revenue, which enabled the city to help 15 businesses in the area make $170,000 in facade improvements, said committee chair Tony Banaszek.

    "That's tremendous and overwhelming to see that happen in our downtown," he said. "In 2006, we hope to do at least as much."

    One downtown renovation planned is to take the former adult theater and video store, now owned by the city, and turn it into an upscale movie theater, which could also host live entertainment. The theater will be called the Strand.

  • The Quarter - REDEEM executive vice president Tim Knanishu said there are developers interested in creating more condominium units at The Quarter, which only has four units so far.


At 4/02/2006 7:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The closing of the adult business on 15th Avenue was a good start. The facade improvements along 15th Ave, heading west, include Gambinos, CCC Communicattion, Van Hoe Funeral home, and a new plumbing company near the Metro Bank are nice additons. With the sale recently of Metro, it will be interesting to see what THE National Bank does in EM. The new Mexican grocery store, at the site of the former Birleys clothing store, and Ron's town liquor, is a good move also. The amount of traffic into this new grocery store certainly kicks in a few bucks to the cities coffers. The new East Moline glass and bus station as well as the new Jewel above the hill are great improvements as well. I hope the Quarter and the case plant realize their potential soon. Things can always get better, and sometimes progress is painfully slow. The pork plant is not the only game in town. Let's keep moving forward.

At 4/03/2006 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on everybody! Draw a pig! It's FUN and says lots about your personality:


At 4/03/2006 8:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that Mayor Thodos is doing a good job and he is definitely moving the City of East Moline in the right direction. I give him a lot of credit because he is constantly being harassed by Joe Moreno supporters. I guess they can't let go of the fact that he LOST. Moreno did not deliver so the voters of East Moline got rid of him.

At 4/04/2006 4:36 PM, Anonymous paladin said...

Jeez, have you been down to "The Quarter"? Talk about ugly-@ss homes/buildings and the land they are situated on! Blech! It's Nebraska On The Mississippi! Who knew riverfront property could be so ugly?

At 4/05/2006 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can thank Joe Moreno for the quarter. He thought that would save East Moline. Don't ask me how...


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