Quad City Times
May 30, 2012
By Jennifer DeWitt
After years of downtown revitalization and reinvestment in its downtown, Moline was rewarded for its efforts today with the Illinois Main Street designation.
The designation for Moline Centre was made official by Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, who serves as the ambassador to the Illinois Main Street Program.
“Congratulations, Moline, this is worth celebrating,” she told a crowd of nearly 30 Moline Centre volunteers, city staff and community leaders. “The Main Street designation means your years of hard work is recognized.”
Simon announced the achievement while standing in front of the City of Mills mural, which features a depiction of downtown Moline circa 1850.
According to Pam Owens, Moline Centre coordinator, the site was where it all began — Moline’s start as a city as well as the preservation efforts that eventually led to the Main Street program.
“Our group has worked very hard to meet the criteria set by the Illinois Main Street Program, and I want to thank all of our volunteers and staff for their efforts,” she added. “With their continued energy and dedication, we will keep moving forward and make Downtown Moline Centre a thriving part of our community.”
Moline joins neighboring Rock Island in becoming a Main Street Community.
According to Simon, the designation gives Moline and Moline Centre more access to technical assistance and training on economic development from the state and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. The program, which now boasts more than 50 Illinois communities, is administered by the Office of Regional Economic Development at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. It is part of the National Main Street Program at the National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street Center.
“This will also give you access to the experience of the Historic Preservation Agency and access to other Illinois Main Street communities,” she said. “You really have gotten some things done here, and others will want to follow your lead.”
Moline Mayor Don Welvaert said the designation will give Moline “all the more horsepower to revitalize our downtown.”
With resurgence in downtown housing, the construction of the new Kone Centre and passenger rail in its future, he said the city has seen many successes in the past 10 years.
“It’s not just the city that belongs to Main Street, but it’s the businesses along Main Street that belong to the Main Street,” he said.
The designation will give downtown businesses access to various resources from the state, including technical assistance, design assistance and other programs.
Simon applauded Moline Centre for its strong partnership with the city. Housed in the City of Moline’s Economic Development Department, it is the only Illinois Main Street program that operates within a unit of local government.