Downtown Alliance

In late 2022/early 2023, the Quad Cities Chamber and City of Rock Island formalized a public-private partnership to bolster livability and quality of place in downtown Rock Island through the provision of custom place management and placemaking services. Specifically, the Rock Island City Council established the Downtown Special Service Area (SSA) to provide sustainable funding for the effort for five years through 2027.

The City Council also approved an agreement between the City and Chamber for management of the SSA through a new place management organization, the Rock Island Downtown Alliance (Downtown Alliance).

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  • This Committee meets at 4 p.m. the third Tuesday of every month.
  • Contact Jack Cullen for more information about meetings.
  • Engaged and constructive downtown stakeholders are invited to attend the Downtown Steering Committee meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, November 15th, at the Holiday Inn to discuss the proposed Special Service Area sand other downtown matters. Interested parties unable to attend in-person may join the meeting virtually via Zoom
  2023 Meeting Dates  
April 4    
April 25    

Committee Responsibilities

In early 2021, the City of Rock Island’s City Council approved a contract with the Quad Cities Chamber to provide place management services and explore the creation of a downtown place management organization.

“Revitalizing our downtown area is a key component to economic growth opportunities for the city, which is why we’re excited to bring this public-private partnership forward,” said Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms. “Bringing people, new events, activities and vibrancy to downtown Rock Island also brings increased revenue, improved quality of life and greater value for existing assets. That’s why it’s so important for us to make this investment with a sole focus to oversee the implementation of our plan.”

Through this contract, the Chamber hired Jack Cullen as Director, Downtown Rock Island, whose responsibilities are to:

  • Explore the creation of downtown place management organization
  • Determine a sustainable funding model for a place management organization
  • Represent and advocate for downtown property owners, businesses and residents
  • Help the City prioritize TIF funds to deliver services in downtown Rock Island to enhance public spaces, encourage investment and improve quality of life
  • Market the downtown as a great place to live, work and play through website and social media
  • Draft articles and updates on downtown activities for newsletters and website as needed
  • Establish and foster relationships with all stakeholders
  • Conduct community outreach and consensus building regarding urban planning initiatives impacting the downtown
  • Identify funding opportunities through the identification of public and private partners and grant opportunities

To make sure that a representative set of voices could provide guidance on the work, a Downtown Task Force appointed by Mayor Thoms in 2020 became a Steering Committee made up of property owners, City officials and other stakeholders. The Steering Committee meets monthly to discuss what a downtown placemaking organization should be responsible for, how the downtown should look and ways the downtown can be promoted. Their recommendations are communicated to the City Council by the Downtown Director, who helps advise on investments and improvements. 

Agenda & Minutes

Other Reports


Member  Term Expires
DeAnna Freeman-Foster 
Owner, Big T Wear Big & Tall Clothing 
(Business owner)
Raja Krishnamurthy 
Information Technology Executive, Royal Neighbors of America 
(Business & Property owner)
Steven Ratcliff
Owner, Bent River Brewing Company 
(Business & Property owner)
Greg Stecker
Manager, Stecker Graphics 
(Business & Property owner)
Brett Hitchcock
Executive Vice President, Circa ‘21 Dinner Playhouse and The Speakeasy (Business & Property owner)
Arron Sutherland 
President/Chief Executive Officer, Illinois Casualty Company 
(Business & Property owner)
Brandy VandeWalle
Owner, Skeleton Key Art & Antiques
(Resident, Business & Property owner)
Nicole Watson-Lam 
Owner, Ms. BriMani’s Hair and Beauty Supply & The Urban Reserve Luxury Rooftop Events 
(Business & Property owner)
John Chow
Executive Director, Rock Island Housing Authority; CEO, Community Home Partners 
(Nonprofit leader and Business & Property owner)
Benjamin Fawks
Owner, Rozz-Tox 
(Resident & Business owner)
Erica Williams
Resident, DuMarche Townhomes 
(Resident & Property owner)
Amanda Wood 
Development Manager, Russell/Rock Island Investors 
(Business & Property owner)