BREAKING NEWS: The City of Rock Island’s city council has approved a contract with the Quad Cities Chamber to provide downtown place management services effective immediately.

Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms

“Revitalizing our downtown area is a key component to economic growth opportunities for the city, which is why we’re excited to bring this public/private partnership forward,” said Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms. “Bringing people, new events, activities and vibrancy to downtown Rock Island also brings increased revenue, improved quality of life and greater value for existing assets. That’s why it’s so important for us to make this investment with a sole focus to oversee the implementation of our plan.”

Through this contract, the Chamber will hire a director that shall be responsible to:

  • Explore the creation of downtown place management organization.
  • Determine a sustainable funding model for a place management organization.
  • Create a place management organization.
  • Represent and advocate for downtown property owners, businesses and residents.
  • Help the City prioritize TIF funds to deliver services in downtown Rock Island to enhance public spaces, encourage investment and improve quality of life.
  • Market the downtown as a great place to live, work and play through website and social media.
  • Draft articles and updates on downtown activities for newsletters and website as needed.
  • Establish and foster relationships with all stakeholders.
  • Conduct community outreach and consensus building regarding urban planning initiatives impacting the downtown.
  • Identify funding opportunities through the identification of public and private partners and grant opportunities.

Paul Rumler is president/CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber.

Information about the Director, Downtown Rock Island position will be posted on the Chamber’s website Tuesday at http://bit.ly/RIdowntownsvcs, and the Chamber is seeking qualified applicants.

The Chamber will also establish a downtown steering committee to include property owners, business owners and downtown stakeholders. The steering committee shall serve as a forum for discussing downtown issues, provide ongoing feedback to the director and function as a policy making body for the downtown organization as appropriate.

“The growth of our downtown area is important enough that we need to hire an experienced place management organization” said City Manager Randy Tweet. “The reason we picked the Chamber is that they already have expertise in this area; they know what to look for and how to build the process because they’re already successfully doing it in other municipalities.”

According to Tweet the City has implemented some things from their 2015 Revitalization Plan, however, there hasn’t been personnel in place with a full-time focus on its implementation. With the new contract, Rock Island will be able to have a downtown manager designated to oversee the plan including making recommendations on the appropriate use of the remaining $1.5 million in Downtown TIF funds.

“In our experience, vibrant and inclusive downtowns are integral to a community’s ability to attract residents, amenities and businesses,” said Chamber President and CEO Paul Rumler. “We have a proven track record of effectively managing downtowns, building strong relationships with downtown businesses and working in partnership with cities. Each downtown has its unique personality and strengths, and the Chamber looks forward to this opportunity to help the City of Rock Island grow.”

Currently the Chamber has agreements in place to provide downtown management for Bettendorf and Davenport, Iowa.

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.