ROCK ISLAND — A call has been put out for “all hands on deck” from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 11. Those “hands” belong to members of the community who are being asked to help stimulate revitalization of 11th Street.
People willing to help with the 11th Street Cleanup Day are asked to meet at 8 a.m. in the parking lot of the Illinois Iowa Center for Independent Living, 501 11th St., for team cleanup assignments. For more information, call Liz Sherwin, executive director of the Illinois Iowa Center for Independent Living, at 309-793-0090.
A picnic lunch for volunteers will be served in the renovated Douglas Park at the corner of 18th Avenue and 9th Street.
Some cleaning supplies will be provided, but those planning to help are asked to bring their own gloves, brooms, shovels, trimmers, lawn edgers, and trucks if possible.
Parking will be available at Second Baptist Church, 919 6th Ave., and at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, 630 9th St.
The Nonprofit Consortium on 11th Street (NPC 11) is a group of 14 private nonprofit groups and churches located within the 11th Street corridor, from 9th through 12th streets and from the Mississippi River to the Rock River. They have banded together to help stimulate revitalization of 11th Street.
“The Cleanup Day on May 11 is the first-of-its-kind event to bring attention to the importance of improving the 11th Street corridor as a gateway to 'the Rock,' Sherwin said.
“When jewels are mined, there is no luster and brilliance to the uncut stone, just another rock. We want to bring luster and shine to the corridor. The 11th Street family is a thriving part of the Quad-City community and will be recognized as such.
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"We want to show others what we already know about ourselves — that we are families, businesses, programs and services important to the lifeblood of the QCA.”
The 11th Street corridor is part of U.S. 67 and is a mixed-use city street of residences, businesses, nonprofits, schools and government units.
“Every day, over 10,000 cars travel on these vital four lanes of traffic, and the passengers in those vehicles are aware of the street surroundings,” Sherwin said.
Jeff Condit, director of development at Friendship Manor and a spokesman for NPC 11, said: “The 11th Street corridor is in dire need of revitalization, as confirmed by extensive research in 2018 conducted by a marketing research methods class at Augustana College, commissioned by the NPC 11. Survey results revealed the general public has deep concerns related to the corridor and supported corridor revitalization efforts.”
Sherwin said, “These are the same results from the Making Cents of 11th Street study by civic leaders authorized by the City of Rock Island, submitted in 1999.”
Members of NPC 11 believe now is the time for revitalization and vow to lead the way for the changes needed, Condit said.
"The city council of Rock Island has long been aligned to such an effort, having previously established the action step to continue to look for opportunities along the 11th Street corridor to bring in new or expanded businesses, remove blight and enhance the appearance of the corridor among their current goals for the city,” he said.
“The churches and other members of the consortium believe by all of us coming together and working together, along with community support, we can improve the appearance of the 11th Street corridor," Sherwin said. “We have faith that the Lord will guide us in being successful in our revitalization efforts.”