Rock Island City Council held a special meeting virtually to hear ideas about how to improve the area.
Homelessness, crime and bringing more diverse businesses to the area were a few of the topics discussed. More than 70 people showed up online and some attended the meeting in person.
The council’s plan is to form a downtown district taskforce. Rock Island Alderman Randy Hurt said that they can only move forward by people coming together.
“There’s been some ideas on who to include, and I think it needs to be from a variety of individuals,” he said. “Residents to business owners.”
Nicole Watson-Lam is the owner of Ms. Brimani’s Hair & Beauty Supply in the district, and says the area is not as family friendly as it once was.
“I remember the district as a child. Coming down [for] all of the events that were happening over the summer,” she said. “There’s a lot more older people getting drunk. And when alcohol is involved, things kind of go left or right.”
The stigma of crime was also a concern for many residents, including Hurt.
“Right now, I think the city needs to promote a more positive image,” he said.