A New Future for College Hill in Rock Island - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

A New Future for College Hill in Rock Island

Updated: Dec 3, 2013 05:11 PM

Breathing new life into a commercial district can be a tough task.

But it's one the owners in the College Hill District want to try.

On Monday (Dec. 2) the Rock Island City Council approved a plan that will try to bring a new look to the area near Augustana College.

And with it, new money.

"I think it unites the area. It lets people know we are an individual community that is thriving," says Jennifer Horvath, Owner of Fred and Ethel's in College Hill.

She has owned a business here for 13 years and now, she hopes a new look could lead to big business.

"It's not that they're just coming to my store or the store next door. They are coming to the College Hill District. It's a uniformed area with several different businesses that's a destination."

That's what the plan the City Council approved calls for.

Using things like new benches, sidewalks, and store fronts to give people the feeling of a shopping district.

And a place they can stay for awhile.

"If you live in Moline or Davenport or you're in town visiting for the holidays, you're going to think, "This is a good place to be." says Rock Island Alderman Kate Hotle. "People are going to be attracted to a place that has a lot of people going to it."

Part of College Hill lies in Alderman Hotle's district.

She says this place has always had potential for more.

And now, with the city council backing the project, she hopes this area can rival even the downtown as the place to be in Rock Island.

"That's how I picture it. It's a college hill. A place where college students are hanging out and other people from the community are too."

Tim Kavanaugh, another business owner in College Hill, agrees.

"We want to do our own thing and be College Hill but we look for other places for ideas," says Kavanaugh. "We look at places like LeClaire and the Village in Davenport for ideas and suggestions on what we can and can't do and what people like and don't like."

Kavanaugh says he has wanted to see an update here for a long time.

Because, in the end, everything comes down to the bottom line.

"You want more dollars out of everything. That's what you do it for. I enjoy it but it's all about money."

There is no current timeline on when the changes might start, but leaders hope to see something by next Spring.