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 Thursday, April 24, the 114th day of 2014. There are 251 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We learn that it is a contemplation to start a paper mill in Rock Island during the summer by a gentleman from the East. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The gates of Oklahoma were swung open at noon today, and a throng of more than 30,000 settlers started over its soil. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Iowa Coliseum Co. was incorporated with $40,000 capital and planned a building on 4th Street between Warren and Green streets in Davenport. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans are being discussed for resurfacing the streets in the entire downtown district of Rock Island. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Some 45 jobs will be created at J.I. Case Co.'s Rock Island plant in a expansion of operations announced yesterday afternoon at the firm's headquarters in Racine, Wis. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Gardeners and farmers cheered, but not all Quad-Citians found joy Saturday as more than an inch of rain fell on the area. Motorists faced dangerous, rain-slick roads as the water activated grease and grime that had built up during dry weather.