Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2012, 11:48 am

Editorial: Who's making R.I. shine?

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The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus

For nearly a quarter of a century, Rock Island civic improvement groups have each year taken it upon themselves to recognize the folks who make Rock Island shine.

Now in it's 24th year, the annual Hard Hat Awards honor noteworthy physical and business investments in Rock Island thanks to Renaissance Rock Island and its subsidiaries -- Development Association of Rock Island (DARI), Rock Island Economic Growth Corp. (GROWTH) and The Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District (The District).

The coveted awards honor business and civilian leaders big and small who work to grow their city, beautify their neighborhoods or spark progress in the community.

You might expect that, with the economy in such trouble nationally, the number of awards handed out this year would have declined. Not so. Indeed, Hard Hat last week recognized 29 businesses, individuals, and organizations at this year's event, which was held at Crawford Company, 1306 Mill St., Rock Island, which recently expanded.

-- Golden Brooms for outstanding maintenance, were awarded to: Sheila Rind and Teranga House of Africa Boutique.
-- Golden Paintbrush, for outstanding painting improvements, was awarded to: WHBF-TV/ CBS 4.
-- Golden Hammers for outstanding business investment, were awarded to: Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, Legends Corner Bar & Grille, 2nd Ave., Stern Center, Stecker Graphics, Against The Grain Brewery & Alehouse, Rev Hard Inc., Wendy's, and Hungry Hobo.
-- Golden Block for outstanding revitalization efforts that encompass more than just a single location was awarded to: College Hill District Organization.
-- Golden Shopping Bags for new retail establishments (new for 2012), were awarded to: Fabulous Finds, QC Collective, Aja Styles, The District Visitor Center, The District Mini Mart, Comfort Furniture, and Navarro Canoe Company.
-- Mayor & City Council Trophy is awarded for the most strategic new investment. Winner: Bent River Brewing Company. Finalists: Goldman Family Block, Crawford Company, Jordan Catholic School, and Community Health Care, Inc.
-- Collette Hinrichsen Award for Outstanding Philanthropy, was awarded to Wells Fargo.
-- CC Wilson Trophy for the Most Dedicated was awarded to the Rev. Michael Swartz.
-- Mo Payton Award for the Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Greg Champagne.
-- The Renaissance Rock Island Vision Award was awarded to Augustana College.

Congratulations, and thank you to these community leaders who have helped make Rock Island better in 2012. May their contributions inspire others to join the list when Hard Hat turns 25 in 2013.