The Quad Cities Chamber has strengthened its partnership with the city of Rock Island to provide place management services for downtown, as it has for downtown Davenport and Bettendorf.

On Feb. 13, Rock Island City Council approved an agreement for the Chamber to manage the city’s new downtown special service area (SSA) through the creation of the Rock Island Downtown Alliance (RIDA).

LaDrina Wilson is owner of Iman Consulting and CEO of the Quad Cities Chamber.

“We are honored and thrilled to partner in this important work to help move downtown Rock Island forward. We’re ready to get started and are dedicated to creating a vibrant, welcoming and prosperous downtown and QC region,” said Chamber CEO LaDrina Wilson.

The scope of services RIDA will provide includes:

  • Enhanced maintenance, cleaning and upkeep of public spaces.
  • Development, marketing, promotion and management of activities and events.
  • Capital, physical or other improvements designed to enhance the appearance and functionality of public spaces.
  • Research and planning services benefiting the downtown.
  • Activities and operations benefiting the downtown under any agreements with the city or other public or quasi-public entities.
  • Recommendations regarding any and all improvements to the downtown.
  • Other activities intended to benefit or further the purposes or interests of the downtown in keeping with the purposes of the SSA.

In December, the city council approved an SSA for downtown property owners, levying an additional property tax not to exceed 1.5% of assessed value.

Jack Cullen is downtown Rock Island director for the Quad Cities Chamber.

The total 2023 revenues from the SSA will be $310,613, approved by City Council on Dec. 19. And the SSA is in effect now, to last for five years.

“I’m excited to continue teaming up with businesses, property owners and residents downtown,” Jack Cullen, downtown Rock Island director, said in a QC Chamber release. “There are so many ideas that have been generated to make improvements downtown, and now with the SSA established to provide funding, we are poised to make a significant impact.”

Pending approval of the Chamber Board on Feb. 16, RIDA will have a 13-person Board of Directors, one of whom will be the Rock Island City Manager. The other 12 (who have not yet been appointed) will include downtown residents, business owners, property owners and a nonprofit representative. In addition, there will be a set of standing committees made up of additional stakeholders.

As the majority of RIDA’s funding will come from the city, generated by the downtown special service area (SSA) revenues, the organization will present an annual work plan and budget to the City Council for approval.

The Quad City Arts Gallery in downtown Rock Island (photo: Brian Weckerly).

In addition, regular reports and check-in meetings with the city will be held.

The next steps are:

  • The Chamber will submit a slate of board candidates to the mayor for consideration with appointments made no later than April 11, 2023.
  • A workplan with performance metrics and corresponding budget will be submitted for City Council’s approval no later than June 30, 2023.

The chamber also manages the Downtown Davenport Partnership and Downtown Bettendorf Organization.