Something New Coming To Sterling - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Something New Coming To Sterling

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Illinois Governor Pat Quinn was in Sterling Saturday - handing out money.

That money addressed to the city - $1.3 million to revitalize the river front.

It's an area down near Wallace St. -  where there have been abandoned buildings for over 10 years.

"We have this old industrial site and when people see this," says Sterling Mayor, Skip Lee. "They think of failed industry. They think of down times."

That's why he's excited to see change on the way.

It's been abandoned area since Northwestern Steel and Wire left in 2001.

Since then - it's turned into a brown field -  an industrial yard that can't be used for anything else.

But while it may just be a bunch of dust and bricks right now - leaders in Sterling hope it can turn into something special in just a few years.

People are going to see that we can rise from the ashes like the great phoenix," says Lee, with a smile, "This is going to give hope and transform the look of this place."

The plans call for creating large areas of grass, bike paths on the river front and forests.

Something that area leaders say can bring more people to the area - including tourists and new residents - that can earn money for the city.

"More and more, our residents are looking for things like eco-tourism," says Lisa Bonnett, Director of the Illinois EPA. "Looking for places to hike and bike and take their family. There's a big focus on local food and local health."

"This is going to be the kind of thing that people come to," adds Lee. "We have this beautiful river and island. 5 years from now, this is going to be the place."