Chamber unveils long-range vision for Quad Cities

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The Quad Cities can improve its future by working together.

That's the theme from Q2030, a new push to market the area over the next 15 years.

The future is all about students at Scott Community College.

Their community wants to keep them in the Quad Cities after they graduate.

"At the root of everything we do should be a united effort to move the region forward economically," said Deere & Company CEO Sam Allen.

Allen headlined the unveiling before more than 200 business leaders Thursday morning.

It's a long-term project with the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce to help the area thrive in a global economy.

Since Deere & Company has about 8,000 local employees, it's an important investment.

"Our future success largely depends on the success of this region," Allen said.

It's a difficult mandate after Deere recently announced more local layoffs.

This time, 220 jobs going on indefinite layoff in February at its Moline Seeding and Cylinder plant.

The agriculture giant also feeling the hurt as equipment sales fell sharply in the fourth quarter.

"Layoffs, nobody likes them," said East Moline Mayor John Thodos.  "But belt-tightening is required."

Forming a regional vision now is even more challenging.

There's a bigger divide between the haves and have-nots.

The Quad Cities lost 3,900 jobs since last October, topping the list of Illinois metro areas.

During an exercise at the event, Scott County Administrator Dee Bruemmer said the first task should be to address poverty in local neighborhoods.

"I think if there's anything that we should really think about here is how to make a living wage, a middle class income," she said.

Q2030 aims to include a wider variety of voices and ideas.

"As you build a community, you want to make sure that everyone in the community is thriving, and none at the expense of the others," said Greg Aguilar, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.

Sam Allen concludes that creating a positive legacy will keep the next generation working in the Quad Cities.

"Let's redouble our efforts to make this a reality, our reality, our future," he said.

A future designed for growth during the next 15 years around the Quad Cities.