State Funds To Help Regain Access To Moline's Sylvan Island - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

State Funds To Help Regain Access To Moline's Sylvan Island

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Plans are underway to regain access to a popular spot for biking and recreation in Moline. The Sylvan Slough Bridge, the only public entrance to Sylvan Island, closed for safety reasons last year. Officials say the island is culturally and historically significant to the community, so there was a big need to restore access. They say replacing the century-old bridge might cost around $1.4 million. Through a local grant, the state will provide 80% of that cost, and the city must pay around $300,000. Outdoor enthusiasts say they look forward to getting back on the island.

"It's like a little forest right in the middle of the city," said Bruce Grell, who has biked on Sylvan Island for years. "The network of trails is unbelievable because you can do actually three miles of trail riding on it, and the island really isn't that big."

Grell owns Bettendorf's Healthy Habits Bicycles. He helped organize the Sylvan Island Stampede, a mountain bike race that would have hit its 10th anniversary this April had the bridge not closed one day after last year's race.

"It was something everybody looked forward to, to kick off the season," he said. "When you have a couple hundred people show up to a local event that is just something we have tried to grow the popularity of, and now it's like, 'Oh, you can't have it,' that's really disappointing."
One year later, the state is in on getting it replaced, with grant money both the city and residents look forward to receiving.

"We needed some money to restore that access, and we needed a new bridge," Moline parks and recreation director Laura Duran said. "It won't just be a pedestrian bridge. We do want to restore access for us to take emergency vehicles over."

"It means that our local mountain bike club, FORC, that's Friends of Off-Road Cycling, they can get back in there, and work on the trails again," Grell said.

The next steps are to select an engineer, design the bridge and finalize cost estimates.


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