Patient determination. That’s one way to describe the long-term approach for Rock Island.
Mayor Mike Thoms delivered a positive outlook during his state of the city address in early January.
He highlighted the new investments and jobs that came to the city over the last year.
That amounted to roughly $27 million generated from developers and about 300 jobs.
Thoms is optimistic that the new enterprise zone can be a catalyst for more.
There was also a stark warning.
Rock Island is carrying debt of more than $100 million.
Thoms sounded the alarm that core services could be lost if the cuts are too deep.
One sign of a stark situation in Rock Island is the old Watch Tower Plaza.
The piece of prime real estate is construction-ready. The problem is that suitors seem hard to come by.
Rock Island’s economic development team is trying to meet the demands of the community to see a grocery store take up some of the space.
A lot of money is pouring into Douglas Park. Half a million dollars in grants will be spent on building new fields and improving existing facilities.
A museum to honor the park’s role as host of the first NFL game ever played is part of the plans.
Rock Island’s role in the early NFL will be commemorated by the league in this year’s draft when a late round pick will be announced in the city.
Nothing comes easy or fast in Rock Island.
That big fish remains elusive.
That doesn’t mean the work stops. Mayor Mike Thoms is navigating the city through these times.
He joined 4 The Record for a conversation.
Keeping up with the other Quad Cities
It seems Rock Island is playing from behind.
We see the other Quad Cities boasting bigger development projects.
Thoms discussed how much that affects him, if it changes the city’s approach at all and what development opportunities he thinks are promising this year.
Watch Tower Plaza
We talk about the Watch Tower Plaza almost every time Thoms comes on the program.
He discussed if the city is any closer to a deal for the property and if it’s time to try a different strategy.
Cutting core services
Thoms warned during his state of the city address about the possibility of cutting core services.
This has been a stressful year on snow removal.
Damage to the streets is clear.
Thoms talked about how much the city afford to lose any of that spending and what options there are to invest more.
Watch the full conversation in the video above.
Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you. It’s a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what’s happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.