Little things like piles of trash cluttering empty lots, crumbling sidewalks, broken playground equipment and weeds overrunning public right-of-ways might not seem like a big deal all by themselves.
But they contribute to the urban blight that makes a community a less attractive place to live, work, play or visit.
They can be big eyesores, like graffiti spray painted on abandoned businesses. Or little ones like faded campaign signs or consistently overflowing dumpsters that send trash flying on the least whisper of wind.
Over the years, we've shared some of those problems here and sought our readers' help to make our community look on the outside as good as it does on the inside.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the bully pulpit works. It can be an effective incentive for someone to fix a blemish by widely advertising its existence. Shame is a powerful weapon. We've also found it's equally effective to broadcast it when we can catch folks doing good.
Such is the case with the people associated with Rock Island's Memorial Christian Church. The cornerstone of that 1896 structure across from the Rock Island County Office Building and nearly at Rock Island's front door had been removed years ago to uncover a time capsule. The Dispatch/Argus' took the before photo that accompanies this editorial back in 2010; it shows a board holding up the corner of the building. That gaping hole remained that way for some time. While recently out on assignment, eagle-eyed photojournalist Paul Colletti noticed the eyesore had been repaired and paused to chronicle it. We don't know when the cornerstone was replaced. But we salute those who made it happen.
As you can see from the after shot, the improvement to the public landscape was instant and dramatic.
Our reasons for sharing it here is in the hope it also will be inspiring to others who, for whatever reason, have similar problem spots that need attacking and to be sure not all of the eyesores in our community are willfully ignored. Sometimes the owner lacks the wherewithal to do the right thing. We suspect, however, that help is available to those who want it in some surprising places. Others might not know about the blight or are unaware of just how bad it appears to others and need your help to point it out. Toward that end, today we are asking our readers to help ferret out other things we need to do to improve the way our community looks.
With spring at last upon us weather-wise, the excuses for not addressing urban eyesores -- public or private -- rapidly are disappearing.
So, if you see a particularly egregious example of urban nastiness tell us about it. You can comment on this story at QCOnline.com, drop us an email at email@example.com or send a letter to Viewpoints, 1720 5th Ave., Moline IL 61265. If you are the owner of an eyesore, we suggest you clean it up today or risk having it turn up here.
Just maybe, if we give the worst eyesores a good public airing, the owners of those properties and others will be inspired to do what the folks at Memorial Church did without prompting.
How to help:
To report a Q-C eyesore
Comment on this story at QCOnline.com Email firstname.lastname@example.org Or write to Viewpoints, 1720 5th Ave., Moline, IL 61265
Today is Tuesday, Sept 2, the 245th day of 2014. There are 120 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: It is estimated that 300,000 people attended the recent Democratic convention in Chicago when Gen. George B. McClellan of New Jersey was nominated as a candidate for president of the United States. 1889 — 125 years ago: Alderman Frank Ill, Winslow Howard and Captain J.M. Montgomery returned from Milwaukee, where they attended the national Grand Army of the Republic encampment. 1914 — 100 years ago: Three members of the Rock Island YMCA accepted positions as physical directors of other associations. Albert Cook went to Kewanee, C.D. Curtis to Canton and Willis Woods to Leavenworth, Kan. 1939 — 75 years ago: Former President Herbert Hoover appealed for national support of President F.D. Roosevelt and Congress in every effort to keep the United States out of war. 1964 — 50 years ago: The Rock Island Junior chamber pf Commerce has received answers to about 65 % of the 600 questionnaires mailed out recently in a "Community Attitude Survey" to analyze sentiments of citizens towards their city's various recreational, educational, and civic service programs. 1989 — 25 years ago: The two thunderstorms passing through the Quad Cities last night and early today left some area residents reaching for their flashlights.