Local Government

Three governmental bodies looking at developing riverfront master plan

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 13, 2019 12:01 am

QUINCY -- Three local governing bodies are exploring the possibility of working together to enhance Quincy's riverfront.

The Adams County Board Tuesday night heard about a proposal to forge an intergovernmental agreement with the Quincy City Council and the Quincy Park Board to develop a riverfront master plan for Quincy.

Under the proposal, the county would provide $250,000 and the city $150,000 to hire several firms to draft a plan for the area targeted for improvement -- roughly from Fourth Street to the riverfront and from Broadway to Edgewater Park. The Park District would not pay anything upfront, but it would be primarily responsible for the future maintenance of any improvements.

The County Board took no action. Finance Committee Chairman Bret Austin said he wanted board members to give the proposal some thought before the issue receives more discussion in December.

The agreement will have to be adopted by the County Board, City Council and Park Board for it to take effect.

Riverfront development was a top initiative spelled out in the Quincy Next Strategic Plan adopted by the Quincy City Council in March of 2018.

Chuck Bevelheimer, Quincy's director of planning and development, wrote in a memo that the riverfront master plan would mainly include developing a riverfront promenade/boardwalk along with a public boat dock at Clat Adams Bicentennial Park where small vessels and large cruise ships could tie up.

Bevelheimer's memo said the goal of a master plan is "to build public consensus and vision" for the targeted area near the riverfront. The plan would identify short, mid-term and long-term projects that could "transform the riverfront into an area of daily activity and attraction."

Supporters say riverfront development could serve as a catalyst for economic development and increased tourism.

One idea being considered calls for addressing the steep incline between Third Street and the riverfront by developing "sidewalk switchbacks" and incorporating a lookout, lighting and landscaping.

Bevelheimer said docking along the riverfront also needs to be addressed. He said American Cruise Lines sought permission to dock vessels carrying between 150 and 180 passengers on 14 dates this past summer at Bicentennial Park. However, the request had to be rejected because "it was determined the bay was too shallow for the American Cruise Lines vessels," Bevelheimer wrote.

If the city wants to routinely attract a large number of tourists in the future, he wrote, "a dock needs to be considered to accommodate cruise lines and pleasure crafts."

Austin said it makes sense to have a master plan in place so local entities can seek funding through the Illinois Department of Transportation to make riverfront enhancements near the current site of Quincy Memorial Bridge, which is slated to be torn down after a new river crossing is built at York Street.

"Five to seven years from now there's not going to be any more Memorial Bridge where it sits on Maine Street," Austin said. "It's important that we show IDOT what we want to do."