About 40 residents, property owners and business owners in Rock Island's College Hill District voted Monday to send a plan to revitalize the area to the Rock Island city council.
Meeting at South Park Presbyterian Church, the group reviewed and offered feed back on the 40-page plan for the area.
Tim Friday, who owns commercial properties in the 4100 and 3800 blocks of 14th Avenue, said people need to be able to park in the area to make it a walkable business district. Bernard Klauer, general manager of Klauer Heating and Air Conditioning at 3009 14th Ave., agreed.
"Parking is the biggest issue we have up here," he said.
A main goal of the revitalization plan is to brand the College Hill District as a retail destination area. Bringing new businesses to the area is a key to this, the plan states.
"Vacant and underutilized properties tend to be poorly maintained and do not enhance the pedestrian atmosphere of College Hill District in terms of both appearance and foot traffic," the plan says. "High business density means an active street life, which reinforces the vitality of a business district."
Another major part of the plan is improving pedestrian access of the area.
"Walkable neighborhoods offer a wide range of destinations to meet the daily needs of residents and visitors," the plan said. "A walkable neighborhood allows for increased social interaction and the opportunity for a healthy lifestyle, as well as improving the environment."
From the start of Monday's meeting, Annette Zapolis, president of the College Hill District Organization, stressed that the plan being sent to the city council was merely a map intended to give city officials an idea of what the organization might want to do in the future and how the council might be involved.
"They're not taking action on anything," said Ms. Zapolis, who owns Cool Beanz Coffeehouse. "We want their support in these changes."
Kevin Hird, who owns the Sports Depot at 1316 30th St., said he likes that the plan talks about creating an identity for the area. He did, however, have some concerns.
"What's the cost going to be for the business owner?" he asked. "Somebody's got to pay for this along the way."
Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley attended the meeting but did not speak at it. Afterwards, he said any changes to the community need to be in the best interests of business and property owners, residents and Augustana College students.
Mr. Klauer said that, for any revitlaization effort to succeed, the whole community must be part of it.
"The business people -- we really need to get them involved," he said. "Everybody needs a vote."
On the Internet
To read the 40-page plan fopr Rock Island's College Hill District, visit www.rigov.org/index.aspx?NID=1270.
Today is Friday, Dec. 13, the 347th day of 2013. There are 18 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: Merry sleigh bells jingle in our streets in the wake of a driving northwest storm of snow and rain. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Thomas Campbell was elected commander of John Buford Post 243, Grand Army of the Republic. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Thomas B. Reidy was named consul of C.W. Hawes Camp No. 1550, and L.H. Eihl was named consul of Camp 29, Modern Woodmen of America. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island aldermen last night upheld the view of a petition signed by 150 businessmen that the city should not install parking meters. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Total volume during the Christmas mailing season may reach 12 million pieces in Rock Island, according to Rock Island Postmaster Carl J.L. Wessel. 1988 -- 25 years ago: The aromas filling the air at the Rock Island Lines depot in Rock Island soon will be prime rib and roast duck rather than sawdust and plaster. A tourist train will be offering dinner excursions in mid-February or early March, according to Dan Carmody, executive director of the Development Association of Rock Island.