A group of East Peoria leaders toured downtown Rock Island last week to see how its housing redevelopment efforts would play in (East) Peoria.

Economic Growth Corp. leadership hosted a half dozen city commissioners and city staff Tuesday for what Growth President and CEO Brian Hollenback called a "show and tell."

"They were looking to see what we did, to duplicate what we did here in East Peoria," he said.

The visitors included three of East Peoria's four commissioners, city staff and a familiar face, City Administrator Jeff Eder, who was with the city of Rock Island for nearly four years before joining East Peoria in 2016. He was Rock Island's community and economic development director and assistant city manager. 

Hollenback said the group wanted to get a close-up look at how Growth's redevelopment projects have converted downtown warehouses, office buildings and other sites into new housing. The tour included The Locks, McKesson Lofts, Jackson Square and adjacent Garden District as well as a  new housing resource center.

Growth, which has been expanding its development reach beyond Rock Island to communities, received the green light to lead development of a new multi-housing project in the East Peoria Levee District, he said. 

But the Levee District already is a success story all its own, having converted 86 acres and a shuttered Caterpillar plant into a new shopping and dining destination. The latest plan is for a $13 million, 45-unit mixed housing.

"They took a former manufacturing site and built a whole new downtown," Hollenback marveled.

But Hollenback was quite proud to show off the more than $200 million in reinvestment leveraged in Rock Island over the past 20 years.

It should play in East Peoria.

Kone earns spot on Forbes best employer list

Kone, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry and a key Quad-City employer, has now been recognized among the world's best employers by Forbes magazine.

The firm, with some 400 employees in Moline and Coal Valley, was ranked 73rd in the Global 2000: World's Best Employers list by the business magazine.

"This listing shows that our continued commitment to our employees' well-being and professional development is appreciated by both current and potential employees," said Susanne Skippari, Kone's executive vice president for human resources.

"We want Kone to be a great place to work, and that is why we strive to inspire and develop our employees to deliver great results," she said.

With a strong focus on competence development and leadership competencies, Kone encourages all employees to create individual development plans. It supports their endeavors with an extensive global learning program.

More than 360,000 global recommendations were analyzed to create the Best Employers list. Employees were quizzed to rate their employer as well as their likelihood of recommending it to a friend or family member and to name the companies they most admired.

Kone employs more than 52,000 people, half of whom are in the field every day and serving customers in more than 60 countries.

Casey's and Coke back Special Olympics

Casey's General Stores across Iowa teamed up with Coca-Cola last summer to support Special Olympics Iowa.

Sales of $1 pin-ups as well as a percentage of sales from 44-ounce fountain drinks featuring Special Olympics athletes raised a whopping $98,000, Casey's announced recently.

The fundraiser will support more than 14,000 athletes in Iowa.

"Casey's has continuously shown their generous support of our athletes and Unified Partners as they've helped us raise not just funds but awareness for our organization," said Special Olympics Iowa President and CEO Rich Fellingham. "We're proud to call Casey's General Stores one of our Champion Statewide Partners."

The Iowa-based Casey's is a Fortune 500 company with more than 1,900 convenience stores in 15 Midwest states.

Biz Bytes is a weekly column by Quad-City Times reporter Jennifer DeWitt. Contact her at 563-383-2318 or jdewitt@qctimes.com