When asked how many empty storefronts there were in Rock Island's College Hill District, Annette Zapolis bluntly stated, "Too many."
Zapolis is the President of the College Hill District Organization, a business association, as well as the Owner of Cool Beanz Coffee House at the corner of 30th Street and 14th Avenue.
Many see that intersection as the heart of College Hill, with a mix of old and new stores that are working to revitalize the area.
"One of the goals of this committee has been economic restructuring and figuring out ways we can get new businesses to come into this area," says Zapolis. "We're trying to build off of established businesses like Harris Pizza or La Rancherita or Happy Joe's that have been here for decades and take things that they've done right and build on them and show other people that this is an area that can thrive."
On Monday, March 26th, 2012, city leaders are holding a public meeting for residents, businesses, and property owners to weigh in on a 40-page proposed plan that Zapolis and her colleagues have been working on since she opened Cool Beanz in 2010.
"The plan that is being put together today has been research over the last two years done by businesses and input from the community as well as research done by the city as to the direction we want to take the District over the next 10-20 years," says Zapolis.
Some of the ideas include more lighting, improved landscaping, and strategic ways to "brand" College Hill. You can read the entire plan on the city of Rock Island's website: http://rigov.org/index.aspx?NID=1270.
Tonight's meeting is being held at the South Park Presbyterian Church on 30th Street at 6:30pm.