Groups Wants to Stall Sale of Moline Railroad Depot - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Groups Wants to Stall Sale of Moline Railroad Depot

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A group is scrambling to save a landmark in Moline. The old railroad depot on River Drive has to go to make way for the new I-74 bridge. Last week the city decided against paying to relocate the building and is now moving forward with handing it over to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Now there are efforts to stall the sale.

The Moline Preservation Society wants to save the 112-year old building by relocating it just down the road to the WIU Quad Cities riverfront campus. The total cost to do that and rehab the landmark is $1.2 million. Most of the money is already committed by IDOT and WIU, but another $155,000 is needed. Preservation society members think it can be done if they get more time.

When Diann Moore looks at the old railroad depot she sees more than brick walls and a clay tile roof. The former world history teacher sees a piece of local history. "It's our last railroad depot in the city of Moline," said Moore, "It is a link to from the past to the present. It's a learning tool in letting people know how we used to get around."

But the clock is ticking for landmark. The initiative to raise money to move it to a new destination is just now getting on track. Moore says the Moline Preservation Society has about $22,000 secured in donations pledges, far short from the $155,000 needed. And here's no help from the city. "We're just not getting very far at this point. But we would like to have an extension," said Moore.

Even though Moline will get more than $140,000 from selling the property to IDOT, Mayor Don Welvaert says that money has to go to the tourism fund. "Because we used the tourism fund to help purchase the train depot," said Welvaert.

Aside from that, city leaders feel it's not worth spending that much when, so far, it's all public dollars paying for it. "It's asking a lot of the citizens of Illinois and the state of Illinois at a time when the state of Illinois is in financial need," added Welvaert.

The first reading of the ordinance to sell the property to IDOT passed Tuesday. But some think it's worth more time to see who might climb aboard. "People are contacting us or we're going out and looking for ways to raise this money," said Moore.

The preservation society is having a public meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. At the First Congregational Church in Moline to get ideas for raising funds. The sale of the property is back for a second reading at council and a possible vote next Tuesday.

The depot was built in 1900. It was used until 1934 when it was converted into offices for the Frank Foundry Company. The city bought it 1994 for use as a visitor center. The depot became a Moline landmark the same year.