After passage of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, the City of Rock Island was allocated $26.5 million by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. City council members formally approved a resolution during the Oct. 10 city council meeting adopting the City’s ARPA Plan and its funding recommendations, including assistance to specific areas of need.

To guide the allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funding to these areas of need, focus groups have been formed to address the issues of homelessness, mental health and tourism. The three sectors will receive a recommended allocation of $250,000 each for a total of $750,000.

The objective of the focus groups is to determine what the gaps and unmet needs are in each respective area and identify ways in which to address these with ARPA funds. By identifying specific needs and possible solutions or programs, the focus group data will assist city council members in deciding how ARPA dollars can be used to make long-term impacts in the community.

The three focus groups are made up of stakeholders and professionals in their related
fields and an alderperson representative. Meetings are open to the public and Open
Meetings Act guidelines will be followed, including the posting of agendas and
recording of minutes.

The Tourism Stakeholder Focus Group, led by 3rd Ward Alderwoman Judith Gilbert and 5th Ward Alderman Dylan Parker, will meet Monday, Oct. 31, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in council chambers on the 3rd floor of City Hall, 1528 Third Ave., Rock Island. Members of the group are:
• Charlotte Doehler-Morrison, vice president, marketing and communications for
Visit Quad Cities
• Roger Ruthhart, president, Xtream Rock Island Grand Prix
• Minda Powers-Douglas, QC Haunts and History Tours
• Ryan Willie, executive director of the Quad City Botanical Center
• Kevin Maynard, executive director of Quad City Arts
• Bryan Schmid, principal planner for Bi-State Regional Commission
• Brett Hitchcock, owner, Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse and The Speakeasy
• Ben Leischner, executive director, Quad Cities International Airport
• Gaye Burnett, Rock Island African American Coalition
• Lisa Huntsha, Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center at Augustana
• Bill Nelson, retired City of Rock Island Parks and Recreation Director
• Julie Heber, Rock Island resident
The homelessness focus group met Oct. 14 and the mental health focus group met
Oct. 26. Agendas and minutes are here.