011118-NEW-BRIDGE-004

Work continues on the Interstate 74 bridge project between Moline and Bettendorf.

Andy Abeyta, QUAD-CITY TIMES

The new Interstate 74 bridge is giving Moline officials a chance to rethink what developments they would like to see in its downtown where the existing bridge sits. 

What that future might include will be the topic of an I-74 Realignment Study open house from 5:30-8 p.m. Wednesday at Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center, Moline. The event will include a presentation and graphic conceptual designs by the Lakota Group, the consultant studying the realignment area.

The event also will be gather input from residents, business owners and other stakeholders.

Jeff Anderson, Moline's city planner, said the realignment study is looking at the potential redevelopment of about 20-25 acres located roughly between the Mississippi River and 7th Avenue and from 19th to 24th streets. The project area includes where the existing bridge and its approaches now occupy.

Demolition of the I-74 bridge is scheduled for 2021.

"This is one of the most significant planning projects we'll ever do," said Dan McConaghy, a consultant for Renew Moline. "It's not only the gateway to Illinois, it's the gateway to Moline."

To date, the Lakota Group has been interviewing  stakeholders, including a project advisory group formed by Renew Moline and the city. The group includes representatives from city staff and elected leaders, other stakeholders and Renew, which is funding the study.

During the open house, visitors will see concepts for infilling the areas to be opened up by the bridge's realignment. "They've planned some things are new, but also needed," McConaghy said.

Ideas range from new residential to mixed-use developments and some of the existing core anchors. The plans also call for creation of a very walkable community, he added.

"This workshop is an opportunity for public input," Anderson said.

Both Anderson and McConaghy said the new study continues some of the future planning laid out in the city's new riverfront master plan.

"This sits on the shoulders of what we have done on updates of plans to the riverfront, Moline Centre, and Western Illinois University," Anderson said. "This is a real opportunity to take the next step forward."

The Lakota Group also will present the concepts earlier Wednesday to the Moline Planning and Zoning Commission.

Anderson said the input gathered as well as other revisions will be used to develop an eventual plan that will go to the commission and the Moline City Council for approval in about two months.

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