WIU and Jackson Square Win 13th Annual Eddy Awards

by Kathy Wine and Michelle O'Hara

Eddy Awards were presented April 20 at River Action's 10th Annual Fish & Fire dinner at Black Hawk State Historic Site. Recipients were honored for achieving excellence on the riverfront by going against the current to get things done, as in an eddy. Presiding over the ceremony was River Action's Board of Director's President, Beth Clark.

Receiving the award for Art was the Sierra Club Eagle View Group for its yearly Environmental Film Festival. After undergoing venue changes from the beginning, overcoming challenges in turning the windowed rooms into dark theater rooms, and weathering spring snow, the group has successfully brought top-rated films to the Quad Cities, sponsored after-the-film talks, and increased attendance to the point that the large auditoriums at Augustana College are filled.

Receiving the award for Design was Western Illinois University's Moline Riverfront Campus. The plan designed by Holabird & Root, Chicago, features a state-of-the-art building housing undergraduate classes, student services, engineering labs, faculty offices, and a writing center. Remarkable are the floor-to-ceiling windows, which showcase a panoramic view of the Ben Butterworth Parkway, and green features such as a rooftop garden and materials like bamboo ceiling units, cork flooring, and seats and countertops made out of recycled aluminum shavings, to name a few. It has geothermal heating and cooling and energy-saving motion sensors for lighting. With sensitivity to river access and views, the University has overcome site constraints and the challenges of retrofitting new construction with old.

Receiving the award for Revitalization was Rock Island Economic Growth for Jackson Square, an $8.8 million redevelopment project led by GROWTH. Formerly the home of Illinois Oil Company, the circa-1922 building has been converted into thirty residential units. The Jackson Square name was chosen as a tribute to the building's previous owners for their involvement in the building's history. Once a brownfield, the site offered challenges during clean up and restoration that led to careful selection of materials for the facade and interiors.

Receiving the award for River Activity was Credit Island Adventure Rentals. (CIAR) This outfitting business sells recreation that improves quality of life in the Quad Cities through kayak, canoe, and bike rentals. CIAR gambled on a location that often floods to bring the public to an area with a rich history of river recreation in the QC. It works tirelessly to promote the market paddling on the river, Floatzilla, and Taming of the Slough to paddlers of all levels of ability.

Receiving the award for Education was author Kristen Bergren. Kristen is a teach at Butterworth School in Moline who makes environmental awareness and the need to take action on the part of conservation an important part of her curriculum. She is also a summer park ranger, interpreter at Hoover National Historic Site, chair of the local Sierra Club, board member of Black Hawk Historic Site, and active in the RiverMile Cleanup on Ben Butterworth Parkway. Kritsen was recognized for her children's book, I CAN DO THAT! In the book, she introduces Chad Pregracke, founder of Living Lands and Waters, and relates his childhood experiences, his love of the Mississippi River, and his dedication to cleaning it up. That young people are inspired to take action is due in large part to environmental writers such as Bergren.

Receiving the award for Stewardship was the City of Bettendorf for five large stormwater projects. While many such projects exist in our cities, few are as large as those taken on recently in Bettendorf. The challenge of working on large sites, securing funding, stabilizing stream banks, and working in populated neighborhoods are just a few of the trials encountered. The GreenWay Creek Project is approximately six acres; the Golden Valley to Spruce Hills Drive project, fifteen acres; Faye's Field, which drains four parking lots at the Children's Museum and Library into a bioswale, two acres; the Stafford Creek drainage way, costing one million dollars, is approximately one hundred acres; and the Crow Creek/Stafford Creek project, the largest, is 200-300 acres. The jury found much to applaud in these recent steps to stormwater management.

Receiving the award for Brownfield Cleanups was Sally Heffernan, a city planner formerly with the City of Rock Island, with a Special Recognition Award. Sally's dedication to riverfront development, activities and cleanups has been evident over her years as an employee of the City of Rock Island and long-time friend and supporter of River Action. During the ceremony, Sally was recognized specifically for her most recent contributions; the cleanups of the Children's Garden area at the Quad City Botanical Center and the site of the Jackson Square renovation.