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Rock Island readies for revival with strategic goals

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Rock Island is looking to turn possibilities into realities. That's why the city is developing a set of goals and strategic initiatives. It's a blueprint for success.

Revival in Rock Island starts with the swing of a sledgehammer on Friday.

2nd Avenue's Star Block is set to shine again. The 140-year-old structure is getting a $1.8 million facelift. It will become apartments and retail space.

These are elements that match long-term goals for the city.

"This is a very comprehensive approach to what we're doing in reinventing our downtown," said Brian Hollenback, president of Renaissance Rock Island.

Rock Island wants to expand the local economy over the coming year. That includes big projects like the Wal-Mart development.

This hands-on work encourages growth and change.  Projects, both large and small, are making a difference.

"You've got to take little baby steps to do it and move forward," said Kevin Peterson, senior vice president of Modern Woodmen Bank. "This is an additional step we're taking forward as a partnership to move the community ahead."

Schwiebert Park represents riverfront enhancement. The city wants to identify new ways to showcase recreation.

It's also sprucing up downtown Rock Island. 21 new businesses and 86 housing units will help to build a financially-sound city.

Rock Island's goals help to turn challenges into opportunities. It's really developing a strategy for the future.

"You have to have a vision of where you want to go," said Mayor Dennis Pauley. "But you also have to have a vision of the entire community."

That means overcoming obstacles as well. Bituminous Insurance plans to move 150 jobs to Davenport.  Rock Island must rebound and move forward.

"We certainly know where we aren't yet," Hollenback concluded. "But we do know where we are headed."

Rock Island is starting with the Star Block as a shining example.