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Construction crews have begun cutting trees and moving dirt in the area where the new Scott County Family Y will be built at Davenport's 4th Street and East River Drive, with a formal ground-breaking set for 4 p.m. Thursday.

The building will sit immediately north of the existing YMCA Early Learning Center, and it will be named after a person/entity whose identity will be revealed at the ceremony, according to a news release from the Y.

Construction is expected to take about a year, Y officials have said previously.

The Y announced in October of 2018 a $12 million fundraising campaign to help build a new, $20 million, three-story location to replace the existing location at 606 W. 2nd St., near the foot of the Centennial Bridge.

At the time of the announcement, the Y already had raised about $7.2 million in a "quiet" campaign that began in 2017. Donors included MidAmerican Energy Co., the Bechtel Trusts, and the Riverboat Development Authority, which holds the gaming license for the Rhythm City Casino.

Work already done on the site by contractor Russell Construction, Davenport, has included removing trees along a railroad embankment, a land feature that dates to the 1850s when it was constructed as the bed for the first railroad to cross the Mississippi River, a feat that occurred in 1856.

Upcoming work will include the demolition of the former Gemvision building at 706 E. River Drive that was donated to the Y in 2016 by Jim Russell, president and CEO of Russell Construction, and his wife, Michelle.

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That donation also was a boost to plans by River Action Inc. to build a pedestrian bridge across East River Drive, connecting the land side with the Mississippi River recreational trail.

The new Y — regarded by community leaders as transformational for the downtown — is being built on a roughly 15-acre site that formerly was owned by the W.G. Block Co.

Plans for the new building have been in the works for more than seven years. In late 2012, the Y signed a deal to purchase the Block property, which had been considered a prime development site since the late 1990s when the company moved its ready-mix operations to another location.

The Early Learning Center opened on the site in 2015.

But even with the center and the new Y, the nonprofit organization needs only about half the property, so plans have called for it to sell the excess property, as well as the Y's current building, which is about 60 years old.

The Y has a 100-year history in Davenport.

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