Rock Island Downtown director gives progress report for revitalization plan

The next major step in the plan is to build support for an SSA
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 11:40 PM CDT
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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - After beginning in the newly created position in April, Downtown Rock Island Director Jack Cullen gave a progress report to the Rock Island City Council Monday on the plans for revitalizing downtown Rock Island.

The emphasis on the report was how the money would come together for a proposed $525,000 budget. Cullen said $350,000 of the budget would come from a Special Service Area (SSA).

According to Cullen, an SSA is an annual payment made by businesses in an area to fund a project. In this case, Cullen said the approximately 440 small businesses in downtown Rock Island would be approached to contribute, with payment being based on property value.

During his presentation to City Council, Cullen said SSA’s are used across the country and cited Moline and East Moline as local cities that have used them.

The majority of the proposed budget would go towards cleaning operations, security, as well as business retention and attraction.

“This is a draft budget and a proposed model, it has support from our downtown Rock Island committee and now we’re going on a campaign essentially to meet with all of our downtown property owners to discuss this model and gain their support,” Cullen said.

Tanaja Ross is one of the 440 business owners that could be a part of the SSA group, she hopes the revitalization brings more businesses to her area.

“Give it more room for people to shop downtown, anywhere in America downtown you have several businesses to go to so I would love to see all the businesses or abandoned buildings filled with businesses, new businesses, not just to drive past downtown,” Aja Styles Fashion and Accessories Boutique Owner Tanaja Ross said.

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