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Floreciente neighborhood becomes a teaching lesson for college students

MOLINE, Illinois - Moline's largely Hispanic Floreciente neighborhood became a lesson in business tonight. Those who are working to make the area west of Moline's downtown more vibrant told college students that it's harder than it seems.

La Imperial Grocery Store is one of the oldest businesses here in the Floreciente neighborhood. The owner's been there in the good times and in bad.

"It was kind of bad but now it`s getting better and better," said Bicente Zebeda.

In the last five years there's been a push to clean up the neighborhood and get people shopping in its stores.

Now Western Illinois University students are listening to what's being done and hearing more of what could be done in the future.

"The more we`re working together the more can use our limited resources to a greater effect and maximize those," said Annissa Wanat, from Global Communities.

The work that has been done so far include, beautifying the neighborhood, transforming an old school into a community center that offers classes and childcare. Not to mention the launch last month of the open market called Mercado on 5th. Its first season saw a lot of success. Organizers are now working to have a farmer's market on Sundays.

"We want to bring the stuff that they buy to a place that`s accessible." said Maria Ontiveros.

While there's been a lot of work done, there's still more to go. Some include fixing streets and sidewalks, to filling some empty storefronts.

"I think as the train station comes in more people are going to be traveling through the community so we want to get it into place so people will want to stop," said Annissa Wanat.