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Improvements Planned For Downtown Rock Island

area that could be included in downtown Rock Island's Special Service Area
Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce
area that could be included in downtown Rock Island's Special Service Area

Plans are in the works to re-vitalize downtown Rock Island. Monday night, the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce presented a progress report on its efforts to work with downtown property owners and the city.

The chamber's Director for Downtown Rock Island, Jack Cullen, says property owners want the area to be clean and safe, with more business recruitment and retention, better marketing, and improved "public spaces."

"We are looking at doing a large re-design of the core of downtown Rock Island. Parts of it are pretty tired and we believe that a re-fresh will compliment the work we're doing to create a sustainable model to properly program, maintain, and update the downtown."

One way to pay for all of this is to establish what's called a Special Service Area, similar to the SSA's in Moline and East Moline.

"Essentially it allows property owners to fund and govern special services and improvements beyond basic municipal services in a defined, geographical area."

Cullen hopes to raise 525,000 dollars for downtown Rock Island, with about two-thirds coming from local property owners and a Special Service Area, and one-third coming from the city and other possible sources, including state grants.

He plans to spend the winter and spring contacting all the downtown property owners, then hopes to report back to the city council by summer on how to create and fund their revitalization plans.

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.