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Public input sought for Rebuild Downtown Rock Island Project

Update 6.30.23

Members of the public are invited to participate in an online survey seeking feedback on reconstruction plans for a portion of downtown Rock Island.

The survey will be open until midnight Wednesday, July 12. Responses will be organized and presented during the July 24 study session at Rock Island City Hall, 1528 Third Avenue.

Members of the public are invited to provide feedback on more than $7 million in proposed improvements to downtown Rock Island during a community meeting Tuesday, June 27. The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn, 226 17th Street, Rock Island, in Ballroom 1 on the second floor. Hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be provided.

The City, in partnership with the Rock Island Downtown Alliance, has worked with design and engineering firms Veenstra & Kimm and Streamline Architects on streetscaping and placemaking improvements throughout the Downtown Rock Island Historic District between 1st and 4th Avenues and 15th and 21st Streets. The firms will present conceptual renderings, discuss renovation plans and answer questions during the public input meeting.

Plans include reconstruction of the 2nd Avenue pedestrian mall; the addition of a gateway between the downtown business district and Schwiebert Riverfront Park; construction of a dog park on 21st Street; parklets for outdoor dining; as well as public art installations, pop-up vendor stalls, landscaping, decorative lighting and more.

“This $7 million investment into downtown Rock Island will restore vibrancy and create a place that is inviting to businesses and residents alike,” said City Manager Todd Thompson. “We are eager to hear ideas and feedback from the public in order to achieve this goal.”

The project is primarily being funded with $3 million from a State of Illinois Rebuild Illinois Downtowns grant; $2.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds; $1.5 million in Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District funds; and a $267,000 State of Illinois Tourism Attractions grant. Downtown business and employer Illinois Casualty Company is also contributing a parcel of land and up to $100,000 for the development of the dog park.

“This is an exciting next step in the process of making major improvements to the core of downtown Rock Island,” said Jack Cullen, Executive Director, Rock Island Downtown Alliance. “We believe this project has the potential to transform downtown for the better and are eager to share the updated plans with community members at this public meeting.”