Rock Island, III (KWQC) -- Looking to bring development and an economic boost to the west side of Rock Island. That’s the mission of a man who moved back with that goal in mind. City leaders say they have the same objective and that neighborhood is a target area they are focusing on.
Empty buildings and properties sit in the west end of Rock Island. Space with potential that could bring jobs, places for entertainment, and homes for families. That is the vision Thurgood Brooks sees when he looks at his community that he's called home for 26 years.
“I just want to do my part, whatever capacity that is to ensure that we do have growth. We don't have stalemate and that the growth is spread around evenly,” he said.
After going away for college, he came back and started working as a Family Advocate at the Martin Luther King Center. He says although things have changed over the years in the neighborhood. The area has something to offer.
“I know we get a bad rep, unfortunately, here in Rock Island especially the west end. You would be surprised, I could list of names that I alone know personally and I went to school with that came from the west end. Great people, great human beings that are doing great things,” he said.
Great things that city leaders are also trying to accomplish in an area that others oftentimes feel is forgotten.
“It’s an area that people think the city has ignored but we have certainly put a lot of money over the years down there,” Randy Tweet Rock Island City Manager said.
Funding that's now helping fix Douglas Park. A place used by many.
“We have been making significant improvements to Douglas Park. Not to the park itself but also the surrounding area, the sidewalks, and some of the other things in that general area and we are going to continue doing,” Tweet said.
Change that not only starts with one person but everyone working together.
“It's my duty and it's our duty to invest and do what we can to give back. That way we can grow as a society versus a person,” Brooks said.
“That’s really what it takes is the city and the community working together and we just hope to further that relationship and make it better,” Tweet said.
Tweet says they are working with a company to do a needs assessment to find out what people would like to see in that area.