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Financing threatens to derail depot’s move to WIU

The old train depot along River Drive in Moline is one of the last standing in the Quad Cities.

“Rail was very important to Moline’s development, as well as the Quad Cities,” said Pat Burke, the City of Moline’s Economic Development Manager.

Plans to move the symbolic structure to Western Illinois’ new Quad Cities campus have been in the works for years.

“It’s a very doable move, it’s just very expensive,” said Burke.

He says it’ll cost $800,000 for the Illinois Department of Transportation to move it a couple miles down the road in order to make room for the new I-74 bridge.

The City of Moline, is supposed to pay $170,000 of that.

But, Burke got word Tuesday, they have to come up with an extra $100,000 for asbestos removal and lead abatement.

“Right now, it’s the city’s responsibility to do that and eventually the city council will have to make a decision if we can’t find additional sources,” he said.

But, time is ticking.

Once the new I-74 bridge project gets underway, the depot has to be gone. Construction’s not going to get going for a few years. Still, the future of this building has to be decided within the next six months- that’s when WIU starts phase two in the development of its campus.

“It’s an exciting idea, sort of retrofitting a building for our use as well as helping the community out,” said Bill Brewer, architect for WIU.

There are two plans for the depot once it gets to the campus.

One option is to make it a daycare center, because there are lots of non-traditional students who need this amenity.

The other, is to make it a welcome center.

Moline’s City Council will meet next week to discuss the financing for the move.

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