FOR decades, Quincy business leaders and elected officials have sought development on or near the riverfront.
This week the Quincy Park District and a group of other stakeholders plan to review proposals from six firms that want to design a riverfront pier, boardwalk and visitor dock along a 400-foot section of riverfront between Clat Adams Bicentennial Park and the Quincy water treatment plant.
This could be a transformational project, and it deserves timely, cautious consideration.
Joining the Park District in reviewing the applicants will be officials representing the city of Quincy, Adams County, the District and the Oakley-Lindsay Center. Their initial job will be to consider qualifications of the design firms and set up interviews.
Bid packets that drew responses by firms from Quincy, Chicago, St. Louis, Rock Island, Ill., and Wisconsin indicate the riverfront project could cost between $4 million and $6 million. So far, nobody knows how those funds might be generated or the costs divided. Designers will be asked to show what can be accomplished within those parameters.
Riverfront projects are not new. The late Joe Bonansinga led a riverfront development effort in the 1980s. The late Bob Mays also pushed for development west of Third Street. Many other business owners and civic leaders have done their part as well.
Parks and trails have been developed. Restaurants, nightclubs and a limited number of upper-story apartments have brought people to the area.
Things look much different than they did 30 years ago. The Teska Associates plan from the 1990s called for riverfront development as well as the arts, entertainment and hospitality corridor that has taken shape in Quincy's central business district.
This year the Quincy Next Strategic Plan made the case for a public boat dock and related improvements.
Quincy's riverfront helped the city grow in the early 1800s when river traffic was the primary means of shipping and long-distance travel.
Today, the Mississippi River remains a draw for recreation, tourism and economic development. Many cities don't have a riverfront. Quincy cannot afford to ignore such a valuable asset and competitive advantage.