Breaking News
More () »

City officials host 'Rock Island unplugged' for first time in three years

City officials say they were excited to host the event for the first time since 2019 and hope residents get to know new faces.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — For the first time since 2019, Rock Island hosted its 'Rock Island Unplugged' event. It's a panel discussion that allows Rock Island residents to ask city officials questions on future city plans. 

More than a dozen city officials and community leaders, including Mayor Mike Thoms and Police Chief Rochard Landi, attended the event, which began at 6 p.m. at the Stern Center as experts began taking questions.

"This is a great opportunity to meet and engage with the public," Thoms said. 

Questions could be asked on any topic relating to the city, including services and upcoming projects. It was also an opportunity to learn the faces and names of new directors and city leaders.

"Also, to put a name with the face," Thoms added. "We've got a number of new directors in place this year. So you can meet the people who are actually leading the city, we're going to have them all together in one room tonight."

One woman asked the Public Works Director for an update on road work that's happening near her house.

"To me, there's a problem in the City of Rock Island when someone starts to work on something in the summer and the next summer they're still working on it," she said.

Another man wanted to know when people would be able to fish in an area the city bought from RiverStone Group last year.

A pre-submitted question asked about actions the city was taking.

"What is being done to decrease the blight such as graffiti and boarded up windows in the city, especially in the downtown areas?" the question asked.

One resident had questions about the longer-term goals of the city and how officials are going to make younger generations want to stay there.

"What do you see in Rock Island in five years, 10 years, that you're going to keep me and my retirement pension here, spending my money in Rock Island and continuing to love this city?" he asked. "What do you guys see as the vision?"

Thoms said the goal is transparency, so he and other officials provided answers as best they could to each question.

He added that they're taking notes to keep track of the issues brought up and use them for goal setting in the future.

"We talk about them, bring them up and we weigh them with the council members and say, 'Okay, how many is this important to?'" Thoms said. "We also talk to the department heads and say, 'Okay, if we were to try to implement something like this, what are the options? Can we get some state funding? Can we work on some grants with people?'"

However, as far as a timeline for addressing certain issues, Thoms said it's hard to say.

"We got a few other major projects that we're working on, and so it won't happen right away," he said. "Unfortunately, the bureaucracy of city municipalities, things don't move real quick, as quick as we'd like them to be, so it won't be immediate. But it depends on the issue. Sometimes if it's a matter of cutting down a dead tree, we can get on it tomorrow, but sometimes if it's needing a street replaced, we got to work that into the five-year capital campaign."

Download the WQAD News 8 App 
Subscribe to our newsletter 
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

More From News 8

Watch more news, weather and sports on News 8's YouTube channel

Before You Leave, Check This Out