Rock Island neighbors ask for better snow patrol

Employees in Downtown Rock Island say messy streets hurt business

The streets and sidewalks of downtown Rock Island are blanketed in snow, with more on the way. For some, heavy snowfall means they're constantly playing catch up.

Erik Reader is the Director of Downtown Rock Island Partnership, a non-profit which oversees the Downtown Ambassadors. The Ambassadors are made up of two part-time employees, and those who volunteer. 

"Plowing the sidewalks, crosswalks, parking lots," said Reader. "Making sure kind of the wheels of commerce continue to roll even if it's bad conditions outside." 

Despite being a small staff, the Downtown Ambassadors work together to shovel the snow to the side.

"We take it upon ourselves to provide a high level of services and hit places where it may not get done," said Reader.

But Cal Reed works at Black Sheep in Downtown Rock Island and says the snow covered streets are nothing new. 

"It's repetitive," said Reed. "It's like every year, there's certain places that are on top of stuff like that like Bettendorf, or Davenport in certain places...Moline in certain spots, but when it comes to Rock Island anywhere it's like whatever."

James Smith, another employee in the area, who asked not to name his place of employment, voiced similar concerns.

"Nobody wants to come down here and have a good time at a bar and then walk outside and have to go through the snow and ice and slip and maybe get hurt or something," said Smith.  

They say their businesses feels the blow when the snow hits. 

"When it's like this we see like a fifty percent drop in business," said Smith. 

And don't want to lose customers because the streets are plowed around their competition. 

"No one wants to come down here and get all slushy and then go in the club and try to dance and enjoy themselves," said Reed.

And while they know keeping up can be tough, they say it's time for the city to lend a few extra shovels and plows. 

"Everywhere else seems to be really well maintained except for this area down here," said Smith. "And it's really hurting business. Everybody is struggling to pay their bills and take care of their families."

Local 4 News reached out to Rock Island Public Works. Director Larry Cook says the plows have been working non-stop since early Friday morning, and there is a priority system if there is more than two inches of snow. He says they are covering as much ground as possible with the resources they have available, and won't be stopping anytime soon.

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