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Rock Island West End project moves forward

Martin Luther King Jr. Center

Community leaders in Rock Island's West End are making progress on a plan to revitalize the area.

The improvement effort is led by a committee of community members, and supported by the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. It could include creating a community land trust and service corps for the West End.

Executive Director Jerry Jones says the plan will help the city's residents who need it most.

"In the West End, that we're looking at, there are three census tracts that are some of the most distressed census tracts in the region, and so it makes good sense to focus in the area that needs the most help."

"We have concrete data for this area that will lend itself towards solutions, identifying issues, data that lends to finding what resources are needed towards working towards those solutions."

The West End is home to more Black residents than the rest of Rock Island. In one of it's census tracts, Black residents make up over 60 percent of the population.

Jones says one goal is to establish a civic organization.

"In other words, an organization that would help with community engagement, bolstering assets and income for residents, looking at quality housing and safe housing, and land ownership."

"To have a central umbrella for that would be pretty impressive for our community."

Jones presented the latest plan to the city council this week. It's set to be finalized early next year and will be implemented over the next three years.

Rachel graduated from Michigan State University's J-School and has a background in broadcast and environmental journalism. Before WVIK, she worked for WKAR Public Media, Great Lakes Now, and more. In her free time, she likes to cook, hike, and hang out with her cat.