With hundreds of young professionals using Moline as their home address, Moline Centre is experiencing a new energy and liveliness, downtown advocates say.
Between those who already were living in downtown's thriving lofts and the students and interns now at The Mills at Riverbend Commons, Janet Mathis, executive director of Renew Moline, said, "It's gives a whole new addition of vibrancy."
Adam Holland, Moline Centre's director, said the youthful population is definitely having a positive influence on the 30 downtown food and beverage options.
"It was the goal when Riverbend Commons was built to have it full of students, people that are overall new to the area and experiencing what Moline Centre, in particular, has to offer," he said.
Many of the new residents landed in Moline for the summer are young professionals with Deere & Co., Alcoa Davenport Works and Kone.
Holland said it has been Moline Centre's role to provide the temporary residents with information about the downtown's offerings and happenings.
"We have made it our goal that they are informed of everything," he said. "I've heard from several businesses that, yes, they're definitely noticing that particular age group present."
According to Holland, their presence already has become evident in the crowds at Moline Centre Main Street's free Summer Concert Series, held each Thursday night at Bass Street Landing Plaza.
"We had crowds beyond our expectations," he said, estimating 500 to 700 people at each.
But Mathis said others also are looking to engage the young residents.
"We're excited as an organization, not for them just being here but for them being in the economy, experiencing Moline," she said. "We're looking at ways to see how we can engage the interns."
In fact, Renew Moline's executive committee plans to invite a cross-section of the young professionals to provide input on the city's ongoing transportation study.
"What a better group to ask what's good and what's bad that can be improved on the riverfront," Mathis said. "They are new to the area and have a fresh perspective."
According to Holland, MetroLINK has launched a new route, Connect, running between Riverbend Commons and downtown including Centre Station.
"So the connectivity is great," he said.
"We're hoping the young professionals coming to the Quad-Cities are having a positive experience and keeping our region in mind," he said. "We're looking not just at the fringe of college-educated people. But it is those who are taking the initiative to go out and seek good internships, and in turn, be selected."