What’s new with the old Walmart site in Rock Island

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ROCK ISLAND - Progress is being made at the stop where Walmart was supposed to go in Rock Island.
In September 2016, Walmart decided to pull out of its deal with the city to build a store along 11th Street.

Ever since, a lot of people have been wondering what will go in that now empty space.

On Thursday, May 11, new Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms was our guest on our weekly “Breakfast With…” segment on Good Morning Quad Cities. Over breakfast at the QC Coffee and Pancake House in downtown Rock Island, he told WQAD News 8 that he and other city leaders are already contacting developers.

"We’ll probably do an official request for proposals out there to see what attraction we have, but really the city should step back on developing the site,” he explained to News 8’s Angie Sharp. " Let a professional do it. Not that we don’t have professional people, but they have the insights to a lot of the retailers. They do this across the country day in and day out with all these different retailers, so let them see what they can come up with.”

Mayor Thoms also hinted at some exciting developments already in the works in Rock Island:
"We’re talking to some people in the Sunset Business Park about expanding,” he said. "It’ll happen. It’s just a matter of how and when and the structure of that. There’s someone looking to open up a restaurant who’s looking at different sites so we’re talking to them.

There’s the old Kmart site and we’re talking to several people about that opportunity, so those types of things are in talks are in process and just hoping to make those a reality.”

Mayor Thoms says he is excited about his first year in office. He has a lot of goals, including attracting more people to live in Rock Island:

"People think that nobody is moving to the Illinois side and that’s not quite true and if we do some promotion and have some nice areas, I think we can attract some citizens and sell some houses,” he explained. "Southwest Rock Island has some nice views out there, some rolling hills that I think people would love to move to so that’s a goal of mine.”

He says he’s also looking forwarding to working with the new mayors in East Moline, Moline, Silvis, and the mayors on the Iowa side of the Quad Cities to collaborate on projects across our area.