Events that shaped us 

Longs Carpet
4200 11 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Roth Pump
Box 4330
Rock Island, IL 61201

Hughes Telephone
1117 Blackhawk Rd
Rock Island, IL 61201

ASAP Equipment
4730 44 St

Taylor Garages
Airport Rd
Milan, IL 61264

Michael Warner, Attorney
1600 4th Ave, Suite 410
Rock Island, IL 61201

Kansas City Life
5019 34 Ave B
Moline, IL 61265

Dr. Romeo
1705 2nd Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Morton Building
Highway 6
Atkinson, IL

Pathway Hospice
500 42
Rock Island, IL 61201

QC Carbide
1510 17 St
East Moline, IL 61244

Lyss Chiropractic
5500 30 Ave
Moline, IL 61201

Metro MRI
550 15 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Litton Life Support
2734 Hickory Grove Rd
PO Box 4508
Davenport, IA 52808

Spencer Bros. Disposal
New Windsor, IL

Mane Designs
Viola, IL

Quad-Cities Graduate Studies Center
639 38 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Taylor Freezers 1885 Earhart Dr
Sandwich IL 60548

Milan Surplus
I-280 Exit 15
Milan, IL 61264

Metro MRI
550 15 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home Inc.
614 Main St
Davenport, 52803

Ward Chiropractic
1802 W Locust St
Davenport, IA 52804

Cannon Precision Manufacturing
PO Box 289
4th and Washington St
Keithsburg, IL 61442

Associated Environmental Management Services Inc
PO Box 586
1701 13 St
Viola, IL 61486

Edward Jones
1632 5th Avenue
Moline, IL 61265

Downtown Davenport Association
102 S. Harrison St.
Davenport, IA 52801

Donald J. McNeil, D.D.S.
1030 41st Street
Moline, IL 61265

Valley Dental Center
Dr. Margarida R. Laub
Route 6, Coal Valley, IL

Sylvan Learning Center
1035 Lincoln Road
Bettendorf, IA

Quad-Citians aided by wider economic base

By Carol Loretz, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

Then-Gov. James R. Thompson came to Moline in February 1990 to sign into law riverboat gambling legislation that took effect Jan. 1, 1991. Quad-Cities leasers on both sides of the Mississippi endorsed riverboat gambling as a new industry that might revitalize economically depressed areas. Ironically, the signing ceremony took place at the Queen of Hearts riverboat in Moline, which never recieved a state gaming license.
The Quad-Cities area has spread its eggs among many baskets.

That wasn't always the case. Until the farm crisis in the late 1970s to early 1980s, the area depended heavily on the farm-implement industry. It provided high-paying jobs for just about anyone willing to sweat in a factory.

Today, big layoffs in that industry would not cause the widespread economic depression they once did, according to data information planner Jannette Higginson of Bi-State Regional Commission.

The area has shifted from a manufacturing-based economy to one leveling out across manufacturing, retail, wholesale and professional- and nonprofessional-service jobs, she said.

Manufacturing declined the most, offering 33.3 percent fewer jobs in 1997 than in 1980. Lower-paying, non-professional service jobs increased the most, supplying 56.3 percent more paychecks.

The transition occurred neither quickly nor easily. Quad-Citians had to invent new ways of doing business and learn to cooperate across state and municipal boundaries if the area was to regain its health.

In 1986, the Quad-City Area Labor-Management Council was established to provide a forum to improve and expand labor-management cooperation. At the time, the group said, the area had a militant-labor image, which did not help attract new businesses.

QCALM pursued four goals:

-- Facilitate communication between area labor and management leaders.

-- Retain and attract new industries to the area.

-- Create a more positive image of labor-management relations.

-- Provide education and training on employee-participation projects.

QCALM continues to promote labor-management cooperation by sponsoring workshops, conferences, college tuition assistance and promoting its successes across the nation.

In March of 1987, Quad-Cities media executives agreed to coordinate financing and develop a strategic community-action plan for the area's long-term prosperity. They pledged more than $73,000 and planned to apply for state grants to fund Quad-Cities Media for Strategic Action.

``These are uniquely challenging times and require uniquely challenging approaches,'' media executives said in a joint statement. ``Our futures are linked to the future of the region, so we agreed jointly to initiate this look at where we need to go to save our future.''

By June, the group had a new name: Quad-Cities Vision for the Future. It agreed to study five issues to improve the area's economy and quality of life. They were: job development, community fragmentation, education, labor-management relations and leadership. Three other issues -- tourism, riverfront protection and development, and the role of agribusiness -- were to be studied as part of job development.

``The vision of the future has to be seen as beneficial to all segments of the community and not just to one group,'' steering committee co-chair Harry G. Hoyt Jr. said.

Five years later, the group voted to disband because its recommendations had been carried out, were being carried out or clearly would not be, Mr. Hoyt said.

``The lessons learned over the past five years should not and must not be lost when Vision stops functioning as a formal organization,'' the group said in a final letter to the community. ``The process of planning cooperatively and then working together for the best possible future must now be assumed by the citizens of our community and its public and private organizations.''

Vision for the Future encouraged United Way of the Quad-Cities, Quad City Development Group and Bi-State Regional Commission to undertake strategic planning where they operate.

Besides areawide efforts to improve the economy, various cities formed development groups to work with public officials in revitalizing downtowns, neighborhoods and attracting new businesses.

One of the most unusual new industries designed to revitalize economically depressed areas, including the Quad-Cities, was riverboat gambling. Iowa lawmakers took the lead in 1989 and Illinois followed the next year, legalizing riverboat casinos in hopes of sparking tourism.

Riverboat casinos neither can nor should provide a miraculous cure for an area's economic difficulties, Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert told Illinois lawmakers in November of 1989. Yet, he urged them to endorse riverboat gaming partly because if they did not, economic development in the Illinois Quad-Cities would take a back seat to Iowa's.

Casinos opened in Rock Island, Davenport and Bettendorf, creating thousands of service jobs and drawing visitors who patronize local hotels, restaurants and retail shops.

``Riverboat gaming has been a very good economic development tool since its inception in 1991,'' said Joe Taylor, president of the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau. ``It continues to help put the Quad-Cities on the map. We were first in the nation and our reputation continues to grow. We're unique in having three riverboat casinos so close together.''

Each casino has spurred other economic developments, Mr. Taylor said. Casino Rock Island helped develop The District, while The President Riverboat Casino is tied to the Blackhawk Hotel and has sponsored other events, he said. Lady Luck Riverboat Casino led to construction of a 260-room hotel.

The riverboats also help attract meetings and conventions, he said, whose members like to gamble.

By the late 1990s, economic development and population growth in the Iowa Quad-Cities had pulled ahead of the Illinois side. To address the imbalance, the Illinois Quad City Chamber of Commerce, Development Association of Rock Island, Renew Moline and Revitalize and Redevelop East Moline proposed an Agenda for Progress.

The Agenda is a philosophy of cooperation that aims to improve the economy of the entire Illinois Quad-Cities. The Agenda's projects include large industrial sites, new bridges, more county involvement, new and renovated housing, central-city redevelopment, better transportation, less government fragmentation and quality education.

The group is eliciting support for the Agenda from local governments. Their support, however, is not intended to be the end of the process, DARI executive director Dan Carmody said. Instead, he encourages governments to review it annually and add amendments for its evolution.

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.