New Operations Manager ready to make an impact in Downtown Rock Island

The Rock Island Downtown Alliance has an expanded arsenal of resources with recent additions to personnel, equipment and technology – all designed to boost the new organization’s impact on the downtown.

The Downtown Alliance doubled its workforce in September with the hiring of Operations Manager De’Andre Robinson, and there’s great excitement about the impact he’s bringing to the new role.

A long-time Rock Island resident, Robinson previously worked as the Community Outreach Coordinator at Rock Island-based nonprofit Christian Care, providing homeless street outreach and case management services throughout downtown and the Illinois Quad Cities.

“De’Andre’s knowledge, passion and boots-on-the-ground experience working with a wide range of stakeholders set him apart from other candidates and enable him to perform this job at a high level,” said Downtown Alliance Executive Director Jack Cullen. “In under a month, he’s already shown a knack for building relationships and noticing and addressing disorder in the district. These intangibles, coupled with his eagerness to learn, are setting the Downtown Alliance up for success.”

Robinson’s experience uniquely equips him for success in the role, where he is working with Cullen to launch a new “Clean and Safe” program for the City of Rock Island’s Downtown Special Service Area (SSA). Enhanced clean and safe place management services include litter and vandalism removal; business and visitor assistance; and mobile safety patrol and outreach in the downtown. Robinson will lead a crew of Downtown Alliance Cleaning Ambassadors and help manage partnerships with the City, law enforcement and social service providers to execute these activities that supplement general municipal services and property owner obligations.

Within the last three weeks, Robinson has visited 125 downtown businesses and property owners across the commercial neighborhood, thanks in part to a leased utility vehicle branded with the Downtown Alliance logo and colors.

“I’m comfortable communicating and sharing resources with people in the area. My experience at Christian Care helped me build relationships with residents, local agencies and downtown business owners,” Robinson said. “I’m excited to be serving the community in this new and expanded capacity for the Downtown Alliance and look forward to improving the downtown for everyone.”

More than two-thirds of Robinson’s work will be administering clean and safe services downtown. These efforts will be aided by a place management progress-tracking mobile software application, implemented the same week Robinson started.

“We will use this technology to track all our work in real-time, from the number of trash bags filled and graffiti tags removed to businesses assisted and negative behaviors deterred,” Cullen said. “Measuring progress and sharing results is vital to this work, and I’m glad we have the proper tools to do it from the start.”

There are plans for great progress to be made in downtown Rock Island with Robinson on board and these new operational additions to the team.