From Blueprint to Reality: The Future of Rock Island's West Side Revitalization
The podcast discusses plans to revitalize the West Side of Rock Island, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the area that has faced neglect over the years.
Thurgood Brooks, the West Side Revitalization Coordinator, and Kaleigh Trammell from the Quad Cities Community Foundation discuss the new efforts. They have formed various working groups over the past 2-3 years including residents, organizations, and stakeholders. An assessment was conducted in 2021 to identify community assets, barriers, and data on issues like income and literacy.
A key focus is improving the physical structures but also promoting a "culture change" through building trust within the community and with outside partners. This will help foster collaboration, community pride, and investments. While pride in the West Side already exists, more trust and monetary support is needed.
The Community Foundation awarded a $300,000 grant over 3 years to help kickstart the plans. Kaleigh says they saw the momentum and wanted to support the "collective impact" approach, which brings together various community resources and expertise rather than one group working alone.
Thurgood aims to finalize a formal budget and plan by February 2023 through ongoing input from working groups. The plan will include both short and long-term tangible goals residents can see improvements. Key goals include increasing income, improving safety, housing, education and creating opportunities for local contracting jobs.
Success will be measured both through data over time but also intangibly through a positive shift in community culture, relationships, and pride in the neighborhoods. Ongoing input from residents will be sought through town halls, surveys, door knocking and digital methods to ensure the plans reflect community needs.
The hope is this revitalization serves as a blueprint for other neighborhoods to utilize community resources and improve their areas as well through a collaborative approach. Both Thurgood and Kaleigh feel confident in the efforts and support to make meaningful and lasting changes to the West Side.