MOLINE – Ambassador to the Illinois Main Street program, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon officially designated Moline as a Main Street community today before a luncheon recognizing economic development officials, city staff and volunteers.
“I’m excited to designate Moline as an official Main Street community. This means access to technical assistance and training on economic development. The designation will compliment what the Moline Centre Main Street program has already done to revitalize this historic part of Moline,” Simon said.
Moline Centre, which is housed in the City of Moline’s Economic Development Department, is the only Illinois Main Street program that operates within a unit of local government. The program is funded through Moline’s two downtown Special Service Area (SSA) taxing districts and manages the maintenance contracts for the SSA.
The taxing districts generate revenue to provide downtown businesses with public way maintenance, marketing and promotional materials, as well as financing for rehabilitation projects through a façade improvement program that has provided over $300,000 to 21 projects since 2006. Moline Centre hopes to compliment this service with architectural design services in cooperation with Illinois Main Street and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
“Moline is honored to have been selected for participation in the Illinois Main Street Program,” said Moline Centre Coordinator Pam Owens. “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. With their continued energy and dedication, we will keep moving forward, and make Downtown Moline Centre a thriving part of our community.”
The designation ceremony took place in front of the City of Mills mural which features a depiction of downtown Moline in 1850. The Downtown Commercial Historic District, which is located in the larger of the two SSAs, is on the National Register of Historic Places and was home to John Deere’s first factory. The manufacturer of agricultural machinery remains headquartered in Moline and is celebrating 175 years in business.
Moline joins Rock Island, which has been a Main Street community since 1996. The Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District implements the program in conjunction with two other organizations – Development Association of Rock Island and Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation – under the umbrella of Renaissance Rock Island.
“The Illinois Main Street program is a great resource to access for revitalization efforts of downtown,” said Brian Hollenback, President of Renaissance Rock Island. “Those resources help us develop and utilize design standards for renovation efforts that are crucial to preserving, revitalizing and telling the story of downtown Rock Island.”
Illinois Main Street is administered by the Office of Regional Economic Development at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and offers its designated communities technical assistance and training in how to revitalize traditional downtowns, neighborhood business districts, and urban corridors. The program is part of the National Main Street Program at the National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street Center.
Simon announced in March that the Illinois Main Street Program is once again accepting applications from communities interested in becoming part of the program. Communities interested in obtaining more information can visit www.illinoismainstreet.org.