Sixth Street Promenade:  Let’s celebrate our “Imagineers”

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Dallas City Hall — icloud

Work is beginning on the Sixth Street Promenade. 

And so starts the naysayers.  

Back in 2020, the City of Quincy applied to the State of Illinois for a grant to help pay for a Sixth Street Promenade development.  It was rejected.  

Not discouraged, a year later city officials gave it another shot. Rejected.

Disappointed but not discouraged, City Planner Chuck Bevelheimer and city officials pushed ahead.  Their persistence was rewarded in 2022 when Governor JB Pritzker announced Quincy was among communities sharing in a $215 million grant through the Rebuild Illinois Downtowns and Main Streets Capital program.  The City added TIF (Tax Increment Financing) funds to the $4.6 million project as well.

Public and Private Partnerships Important

Public financial support is important.  Equally important is private investment along the Sixth Street corridor.   Lots can happen when there are public-private sector partnerships.

Frankie Murphy Giesing, a local businessman and entrepreneur, points out that many have stepped forward to make the Sixth Street Promenade a reality.  The redevelopment of the area already shows its rebirth with businesses and improvement dotting the street and coming alive.  Frankie, also a Muddy River News contributor, shared the energy behind the Promenade with Publisher Bob Gough and Ashley Conrad in a 2022 Club Muddy podcast.

Yes, there are naysayers.  

  • “A waste of taxpayer money.”  
  • “Whether you call it Downtown, Uptown, The District, or whatever, it’s dead!”
  •  “The money could be better spent on fixing our horrible streets.”
  • “Just a bunch of folks feeding at the public trough.”

And so on.

Admittedly, the Promenade idea was a bit crazy.  But our local “imagineers” – public and private – need our admiration and encouragement.  We need more of them.  

Dallas City Hall Flag Poles

Some years ago, I was invited to give an address in Dallas.  While there, former Quincyan Joe Musolino invited me to lunch.  He then headed one of the Lone Star State’s leading banks.  

Atop a Dallas skyscraper, I asked Joe: “What’s the biggest difference between Dallas and Quincy?”

Joe thought for a moment.  He then directed me to the flag poles that graced Dallas City Hall.

Dallas had dedicated its new and avant-garde City Hall several years before.  According to Musolino, when there were substantial cost overruns the proposal to install some very costly flag poles was thought out of the question.  Despite some head scratching and doubts, the community got behind the distinctive 84-foot-high flag poles.  

Reflecting on his hometown, he doubted there would have been such support.  Dallas had a “we can” rather than a “we can’t” or “it’s good enough” attitude he felt sometimes characterized our community.  

In his book about the project, Dallas City Hall designer I.M. Pei observed:

“When you do a city hall, it has to convey an image of the people, and this had to represent the people of Dallas … The people I met – rich and poor, powerful and not so powerful – were all very proud of their city. They felt that Dallas was the greatest city there was, and I could not disappoint them.”

I’m proud of Quincy and our region. 

Our community can look back to such visionary efforts as the “Little Theatre” – now Quincy Community Theatre – organized by Mrs. Charles Dazey and attorney Paul Weisenborn, the Quincy Symphony Orchestra founded by George M. Irwin, the Bill Klingner Trail first suggested by Klingner himself in the 1940s, Quincy Trees for Tomorrow founded by Musolino’s sister Anne Musolino St. John, the foresight of board members to approve the development of the John Wood Community College campus, Quincy University’s redevelopment of its campus and Q-Stadium, the several public works project of the Quincy Public Schools, and many others in which there were doubts but now are greatly valued.  

Maybe next the Riverfront Master Plan?

Or your idea?

Crazy.  Perhaps.  

But its ideas and, yes, “imagineering” that makes a city better.   

We can.

But we need our “imagineers”!

Maybe you?

Jim Rapp is a practicing attorney and founding partner of Muddy River News LLC. 

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