15 Jun Q&A Dylan Parker
One full year into his service as Alderman of the Fifth Ward, we caught up with the busy 29-year old who represents downtown and its historic near neighborhood areas.
Now one year into your term as alderman, is it everything you expected – or different in any way?
Things are pretty much what I expected; it’s taken me some time to get my feet underneath me and learn how things get done in City Hall, but now that time has passed, I’m figuring out how to be an effective leader for Rock Island. One year in and I’m more excited than ever to keep pushing for new ideas.
Has there been anyone that has helped mentor you or given you advice in your candidacy and in your term as an elected official?
I’ve been touched by the amount of support I’ve received from a variety of people. While running for office and since having been elected, lunches with former Mayor Schwiebert are always nice. I’ve also benefited from neighbors that lived through different periods of city government sharing how things used to be. I’m a big fan of not duplicating work, so if popular programs used to work in Rock Island, I’m more than happy to learn about & revisit them.
What are your top three priorities for your ward?
My top three priorities for Rock Island’s 5th Ward include continuing to empower neighborhoods, getting our downtown listed on the National Register of Historic Places to further incentivize commercial developments and exploring new ideas with respect to walkability, creative placemaking and multi-modal transportation.
Although it has only been a short time that you have been serving on the City Council, what would you say have been your biggest accomplishments to date?
The policies that I was able to establish during last year’s City Council Goal Setting Session were probably my biggest accomplishments yet. Government moves slowly, so I needed to have a clear vision and priorities from the get-go to get anything done for my constituents with the time I have in office. My plans for downtown revitalization, environmental sustainability and community broadband internet won’t happen overnight, so getting them in as the Council’s strategic goals within a few months of my term’s beginning will hopefully result in more successes!
You represent a geographic area that is one of the most historic and unique in the city and the region, what are your favorite things about the area?
The fact that, from my house in Broadway, it’s a brief walk to downtown, the riverfront, the Hauberg Estate, microbreweries, exotic food restaurants, coffee shops and a number of public parks, means that taking the dog for a walk, or pushing my baby in the stroller always results in cool fun things going on.
Where do you see the future of downtown and its near neighborhoods in the next 10-15 years?
I believe the work we’re doing now will result in significant development that will redefine our downtown. Things are cyclical, and while Rock Island has historically been a leader for downtown redevelopment, we need to continue pushing onward. By combining intelligent public policy to incentivize development with cultivating a culture that prioritizes the business-owners and home-buyers of tomorrow, Rock Island 2030 will be one great place to live.