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Response to Moline Alderman
Monday July 15, @04:33PM, by deann_soults
Subject : Bridge Issues
Summary :

Response to Moline Alderman Adams' letter to the editor published in the Moline Dispatch.

Text :

Moline Alderman Adams,

As one of the Bettendorf businesses you criticized, I wanted to respond to you and offer my comments to councils.

I currently own and operate six locations on the Iowa side of the Mississippi employing 47 Iowa and Illinois residents which began over 80 years ago. In addition to Iowa, we also service Illinois customers, purchase from Illinois businesses and were looking for expansion into Illinois, so as a city employee, I would hope that you would keep this in mind.

Personally we own a $600,000 building which is not in the direct path of the bridge, so even though directly effected, I am NOT compensated. This building has been a drycleaning facility since the 1950's. It originally was a small one story brick $60,000 building, but due to expansion needs we invested hundreds of thousands of dollars with MAJOR structural improvements and landscaping to beautify our community. If this bridge is built, we will lose that investment. We lose curb cuts, which eliminates access. We will NOT be compensated for the significantly reduced value of our building. Best value for my tax dollar? This is only one of the ways we will be impacted.

We will lose our ability to expand. We expanded this facility to it's fullest geographical boundaries, including building an impressive second story because of the land locked location. We waited 20 years to obtain the property next door, purchased it with intentions of more expansion and beautification and now the bridge will take it.

If the bridge is built...our customers will NOT have access to this store! We will NOT be compensated. This facility generates over 1 million in annual sales, yet we will not have customers access nor will employees have a place to park.

This building houses over 2 million dollars worth of heavy equipment, most of which is permanently secured to the concrete foundation. We are just supposed to walk away? We are just supposed to move? We are being selfish after all these years of dedicated service to the Quad Cities?

We are not alone.

Waterpark? They face the exact same issues. Gravert Auto? He leases and he will NOT be compensated, but he will be forced out. Village Inn loses their business vantage point without compensation. Will this mean a closing and loss of jobs? Many of these employees that will be displaced live in Illinois! Of those businesses that do get building compensation....where will their business end up? Will their customers move with them? I could name at least 60 businesses and/or property owners who are adversely effected. Moline does not face the same issues of this scale, or I believe your comments would have been different.

Construction? How will this effect these businesses? How long will it take to build new ramps, build new roads, build a new bridge and tear down the old bridge? To avoid the headaches of construction... where will the downtown customers go?

Even if I were not directly affected....I would not agree with this concept of tearing down this structurally sound bridge. If safety was such an eminent issue, then it should be addressed with NOW. There are steps that CAN be taken now to improve safety that would not have to involve the destruction of the bridge. The sixth bridge SHOULD be the focus point, not the destruction of I-74, respectfully addressed as the Memorial Bridge.

The sixth bridge would not cause such a mass destruction. Not of the community, businesses, schools, residents, and it would serve the same purpose. Ramp issues CAN be addressed without destruction. Safety issues CAN be addressed without tearing down the bridge. The sixth bridge CAN be built to address future traffic needs..FIRST. Then if a need still exists... address those issues then.

As a business owner in Iowa, I have interests throughout the Quad Cities. No, I am not JOHN DEERE or the MARK, but I am important to your community and so are the rest of the 60- 100 small businesses in downtown Bettendorf.

DeAnn Soults President Crescent Cleaners 1303 Grant Street 563-355-2613

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Quote of Note
"It’s a lot of money, in excess of $200 million."
- Gary Moore, I-74 Bridge Task Force
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