Small business owners help Rock Island’s downtown revitalization effort

Local News

Jack Cullen is leading the city’s efforts to revitalize downtown Rock Island. He sees his biggest supporters in this effort as the old and new business owners.

“Improving downtown Rock Island, first and foremost, we really want to ensure that the existing business and property owners in downtown Rock Island have the support that they need to succeed,” said Cullen.

He adds there are new developments in the planned revitalization.

“We’re also working with the city and downtown property owners to develop a new business improvement district,” said Cullen.

It is a plan well-received by Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “I’m old enough where I’ve seen several different revitalizations like it is now, where the city and private businesses have gotten together to revitalize it.”

Brandy VandeWalle owns Skeleton Key Arts & Antiques. She says the unique geography of the city makes it a special place for business owners.

“The downtown is especially important to Rock Island when compared to the other Quad Cities. Unlike the other cities, Rock Island is a little more landlocked, so we are dealing with a more finite kind of space.”

Blue Cat Brew Pub co-owner Charlie Cole says how he is happy to play a part in the success of his business and many others.

“It’s been great. They’ve been in here,” said Cole. “We’ve had our talks, and the more that we can be involved and be a part of that, we want to be. We want to see more people down here.”

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