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Sky High Banners Symbolize New Life in Old QC Neighborhood

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As the saying goes... "out with the old, in with the new."

Anyone passing through the KeyStone Neighborhood in Rock Island may notice some new additions. 25 brightly colored streetlight banners are now spread out along 6th and 7th Avenues, replacing the older green ones.

"We had these tattered banners that were sending the wrong signal about the neighborhood," says Joshua Schipp, President of the KeyStone Neighborhood Association in Rock Island.

Joshua hopes the new banners will send a different message that generates excitement and tells the story of a growing neighborhood that is also dedicated to its history.

"We wanted people to have [the banners] as the impression that KeyStone is a neighborhood that is organized We're energized and we're moving forward."

One of the banners hangs just outside "Old Mexico" restaurant, where George Barajas is Manager.

"It definitely represents our community," says Barajas. "People will admire them and we may capture a few more customers that way."

Jenn Misewicz designed the banners. She says her goal in this project is "to get your eye to look there every time you drive by."

She describes how the banners are meant to encompass the characteristics of the KeyStone Neighborhood. Each include an abstract picture of Augustana's Old Main, St. John's Lutheran Church, and Lincoln Park to show the area's values of education, faith, and families.

If it just makes one person look while they're driving down the street and look again and look again, then I feel like I've done my job," says Jenn.

Both Joshua and Jenn are also Augustana College Alums. The pair says they hope a younger influence on the 120-year-old neighborhood will revitalize residents for years to come.

"We can’t discredit the impact that [Augustana] has in our neighborhood and in the city," says Joshua.

There are several events happening in the KeyStone Neighborhood this month. On Sunday, September 15th, 2013, St. John's Lutheran Church, 4501 7th Avenue, is holding an open house to celebrate its renovation and expansion project from 3-5pm. Also, on September 22nd, the KeyStone Neighborhood Assocation is organizing a fundraiser at Old Mexico Restaurant, 610 45th Street, from 11am-3pm.