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The Star Block is Re-born

The Star Block, after renovation.
Like a proud father - Brian Hollenback
Credit WVIK News / WVIK News

A historic but rundown block in downtown Rock Island has been transformed into loft apartments and commercial space. Thursday the Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation held a ribbon cutting to celebrate the renovation of the Star Block - in the 18-hundred block of 2nd Avenue.

Growth president Brian Hollenback says the make-over of the Star Block is another sign that downtown Rock Island is strong, and getting stronger. 

"We are here not only to re-purpose blighted structures, create the critical mass and provide affordable housing options in our community. But we are here to insure that we are creating jobs - good paying jobs with benefits and that is very important as we continue to grow our economy."

Financing the 2.1 million dollar project was particularly challenging - Hollenback says the money came from 11 separate sources, including grants and loans from city, state, and federal governments, plus a local bank, and a local foundation. 

"It doesn't get any more complicated than this. The only difference is we're not in downtown Chicago rolling out 200 units. The complexities of what we do is the same. It's further demonstration of what a community-based non-profit does for its community"

Included in the eight new apartments are two set aside for veterans, and located on the first floor so they're accessible. 

Applications are now being accepted from prospective tenants.   

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.