Share your ideas on rebuilding Downtown Rock Island

Project design team gathering public input

This is an artists rendering of what a reimagined downtown Rock Island could look like. CREDIT CITY OF ROCK ISLAND

Residents, business owners and other stakeholders in downtown Rock Island are invited to a public meeting to discuss the more than $7 million in improvements being proposed for the downtown business district. 

The community meeting will be from 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, June 27, at the Holiday Inn, 226 17th Street, Rock Island. It will be in Ballroom 1 on the second floor and hot and cold hors d’oeuvres as well as beverages will be provided.

The City of Rock Island, in partnership with the recently created Rock Island Downtown Alliance (RIDA), has been working with Quad Cities design and engineering firms Veenstra & Kimm and Streamline Architects to design a series of streetscaping and placemaking improvements for the downtown. The proposed projects would be scattered throughout the Downtown Rock Island Historic District between First and Fourth avenues and 15th and 21st streets. 

Representatives with the two firms will be on hand at the public meeting to present conceptual renderings, discuss renovation plans and answer questions. The plans include:

This artist’s rendering reimagines part of Rock Island’s Second Avenue. CREDIT CITY OF ROCK ISLAND
  • Reconstruction of the Second Avenue pedestrian mall.
  • The addition of a gateway between the downtown business district and Schwiebert Riverfront Park.
  • Construction of a dog park on 21st Street.
  • Parklets for outdoor dining.
  • Public art installations, popup vendor stalls, landscaping, decorative lighting and more.

“This $7 million investment into downtown Rock Island will restore vibrancy and create a place that is inviting to businesses and residents alike,” City Manager Todd Thompson said in a news release. “We are eager to hear ideas and feedback from the public in order to achieve this goal.”

The project is primarily being funded with $3 million from a State of Illinois Rebuild Illinois Downtowns grant; $2.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds; $1.5 million in Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District funds; and a $267,000 State of Illinois Tourism Attractions grant. 

Illinois Casualty Company, a downtown anchor and employer, also is contributing a parcel of land and up to $100,000 for the development of the dog park.

“This is an exciting next step in the process of making major improvements to the core of Downtown Rock Island,” Jack Cullen, executive director of RIDA, said in the release. “We believe this project has the potential to transform downtown for the better and are eager to share the updated plans with community members at this public meeting.”

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