Rock Island mayor calls for more small businesses during State of the City Address

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Can’t see the live stream? Tap here!

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois — Mayor Mike Thoms delivered his first State of the City address Monday afternoon, January 8, 2018.

Thoms touched on the city’s many partnerships established with facilities like the Hauberg Civic Center and Douglas Park, in order to complete landscaping and maintenance projects throughout 2017.

However, one of the key take away was the Mayor’s call to action to bring in more small businesses to the city.

“We don’t have specific dollar goals or number of retailer goals. The goal is to bring more retail and jobs to the Quad Cities and we would like some residential businesses coming in also,” says Thoms.

Mayor Thoms says 2017 laid the ground work for a number of major projects in the city, including work on a new Water Treatment Filtration Plant to replace the 100-year-old structure already in place.

The $19 million project is scheduled to wrap up in 2019.

Related: Rock Island City Council approves plans to redevelop the VanDerGinst Building

2017 also kicked started the remolding of the VanDerGinst building into a 33-apartment complex and hotel.

Mayor Thoms tells News 8, the city is also looking into different options to put a grocery store at Watchtower Plaza.This comes more than a year since the deal with Walmart fell through.

“Our hope is to announce something in mid-2018 year… A lot of these retailers plan so far ahead that even if they commit (to a plan) in 2018 they can`t do a brick and mortar until 2019,” says Thoms.

Setbacks were included amongst the positive changes Thoms highlighted during his address.
Rising expenditures, with stagnant revenue streams has forced the city to implement a higher property tax for Rock Island residents in 2018.

“We hope to be able to reverse that at some point, but at this point we need to get some more revenue in,” says Thoms

The tax increase is also an effort to try to make up for some of the s state budget troubles, still hitting the city of Rock Island.

“The state of Illinois cut about 1.2 million dollars of money coming to us from sales tax. That affected us dramatically… (so we’re) trying to make that up.,” says Thoms

The mayor hopes bring in more businesses will eventually start to give tax payers a break.