ROCK ISLAND – It’s an area with a lot of history, right on the campus of Augustana College. 60 different businesses want to revitalize the area. Many think “College Hill” needs some shaping up.
“I think this can be a growing thing just like 7th Street in Moline,” Rock Island resident Steve Teeter said.
Teeter recalls when 14th Avenue didn’t look like abandoned.
“As I remember it,” Teeter said. “It was cobble stone streets, at least part of it.”
Businesses, homes, even cars are all things prevalent on 14th Avenue. Something else that’s prevalent though are abandoned buildings. It’s exactly why residents came out to discuss how to change the area.
“Just to spruce up the area to where people like the new signage at the Happy Joes across the street,” Teeter said. “Things of that nature, just so people know that this area is here.”
The city is revising 14th Avenue from 30th Street to 38th Street. It’s a project that could cost millions of dollars.
“Something between 0 and $50 million dollars,” Rock Island Development Director Greg Champagne said in response to how much the plan would cost. “Yes it does cost something to implement these plans, but a lot of the planning is implementing the plan through hard work and ideas and people working together to make something happen.”
So now, residents like Teeter get to express their concerns.
“There’s a business right next door to Cool Beanz,” he said. “It’s being used as a storage area, but other than that, it’s kind of abandoned.”
He hopes Rock Island changes the land to help bring in more business to the area.
The committee plans on using funds from Rock Island, Augustana, and the businesses themselves to pay for the upgrades. Rock Island already has 25,000 set aside for the project.