Aerial rendering of the Rebuild Downtown project area.

Final plans set for $8.7M Rebuild Downtown Rock Island project

The Rock Island City Council on March 25 unanimously approved final plans and construction contracts for the $8.7 million Rebuild Downtown Project, setting the stage for the largest investment in downtown’s public infrastructure in a generation.

“It’s great to reach consensus around the improvements our community is excited about making,” said Jack Cullen, Executive Director of the Rock Island Downtown Alliance. “This project has a dynamic mix of streetscaping and placemaking elements we believe will enhance our public spaces, encourage private investment and improve quality of life downtown.”

Construction is scheduled to begin mid-April and centers primarily on 18th Street between 1st and 3rd Avenues, as well as the 1800 blocks of 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Valley Construction was awarded the base bid for improvements and is working with the City, its consultants and the Downtown Alliance to communicate a construction timeline to stakeholders in the project area.

Improvements include:

  • “Welcome to Downtown Rock Island” gateway sign
  • Total reconstruction and streetscaping of 4 blocks
  • Decorative lighting and landscaping
  • Two large-scale murals in Arts Alley
  • 10 new outdoor patio areas at existing establishments
  • Rock Island block letters for photo opportunities
  • Conversion of parking lot at 2nd Avenue/18th Street into greenspace for yard games and special events
  • Mini roundabout signifying the center of downtown

A public meeting to review top candidates for the murals in Arts Alley is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at Rock Island City Hall, 1528 3rd Avenue.

The City hopes to complete the Rebuild Downtown project by the end of the year, and Cullen noted this is not the end or extent of major downtown improvements. “This is just the start – where the changes need to start in the core of downtown and where we hope to continue block by block.”

Funding sources for the project are American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, two State of Illinois grants and Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District funds.