In celebration of the millions of dollars of business investment made across Rock Island, Renaissance Rock Island presented its 2012 Hard Hat Awards.
The ceremony, held last week at Crawford Co. — one of the expansion projects in 2012, honored a total of 29 Rock Island businesses, individuals and organizations. The awards were presented by Renaissance Rock Island in partnership with the city of Rock Island.
Renaissance is the umbrella organization over the Development Association of Rock Island, or DARI; Rock Island Economic Development Growth Corp., or GROWTH, and The District.
During the ceremony, Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley told the audience that “Rock Island has reason to celebrate this year with several thousand to several million dollar investments completed in 2012 and recently announced for 2013.”
He added that the city provided more than $820,000 in façade improvement grants and loans to 42 businesses this year. In addition, the city has announced two major investments coming in 2013 — a Fareway grocery store on 18th Avenue and a Walmart Superstore on 11th Street.
To honor the 2012 investments, Renaissance presented its Hard Hat Awards to these winners:
Mayor & City Council Trophy
Winner for the most strategic new investment: Bent River Brewing Co.
Located at 24th Street and 5th Avenue, Bent River invested $1.6 million in redeveloping the former Tim’s Car Wash into a distribution center and tasting room for its beer brewing operation. The renovated facility also includes an expanded merchandise room, event space and its Uncommon Beverage Station, a drive-thru that sells its beers and gourmet coffees Bent River makes from the same beans as its Uncommon Stout.
Finalists for the city’s traveling trophy were:
Crawford Company: The company’s manufacturing division, Monoxivent, completed a 20,000-square-feet addition at its facility at 1306 Mill St. The expansion, still under way, brings additional space for manufacturing, warehousing, shipping and receiving as well a state-of-the-art training facility. The $1.7 million project marks Crawford Co.’s seventh expansion in its 60 years of business.
Community Health Care Inc.: Investing $3 million in federal funding through the Affordable Care Act, CHC built a 18,750-square-foot clinic on 11th Street to provide primary medical and dental care for those in need. The facility, which replaced the previous clinic, features 12 adult examination rooms, 10 pediatric rooms and eight dental operatories. It also has laboratory space, nursing stations and administrative space. A 2,900-square-foot meeting room was added to provide space for educational purposes as well as public meetings.
Goldman Family Block: Located in the 1600 block of 2nd Avenue, the Goldman Family Block saw the renovation of five upper-story rental units and four commercial spaces this year as well as the demolition of a storefront to make way for a parking lot. The $1 million project, which also included façade improvements, marks the final piece of a $12 million renovation of the Goldman Family Block.
Jordan Catholic School: The school completed a 15,000-square-feet building addition — bringing its seventh and eighth grade students to the central campus. The move united Jordan’s entire student body on a single campus for the first time in its history. The $2.3 million project was built on the grounds of St. Pius X Church.
Collette Hinrichsen Award for Outstanding Philanthropy
Wells Fargo was honored for its continued investment in Rock Island’s Old Chicago neighborhood. The bank recently presented Rock Island Economic Growth Corp. with a $100,000 donation from the company’s Leading the Way Home program. Meant to assist in the central city neighborhood’s revitalization, the donation came only a year after Wells Fargo donated $75,000 to GROWTH. According to Wells Fargo representatives, there is a less than 1 percent chance of any organization being awarded two consecutive awards through the program.
CC Wilson Trophy for the Most Dedicated
The Rev. Michael Swartz was honored for his longtime devotion to the city. He has served for more than 20 years on the board of GROWTH, and was involved with its predecessor, Breach Menders. Retired from Church of Peace United Church of Christ, he has been a strong advocate for the Longview neighborhood.
Mo Payton Award for the Volunteer of the Year
Greg Champagne, the city’s former community and economic development director, was honored for his ongoing commitment to Renaissance and the city. Even after retiring from his city job, Champagne remains active with The District’s board of directors, serving as its vice chair and volunteering countless hours to its festivals.
Renaissance Rock Island Vision Award
Augustana College received this year’s award for its creation of the Strengthening Our Community’s Task Force in 2011. The task force, led by Augustana and other community leaders, was formed to enhance and improve the neighborhoods surrounding the Rock Island campus.
Golden Brooms, for outstanding maintenance
Sheila Rind, a lifelong resident of Rock Island and “the pulse of New Old Chicago”
Teranga House of Africa Boutique, owner Sonia Thim.
Golden Paintbrush — for outstanding painting improvements
WHBF-TV/CBS for repainting its downtown transmission tower, which represented a more than $300,000 investment.
Golden Hammers, for outstanding business investment
Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, which is the world’s largest collection of manuscripts, was honored for its expansion to Rock Island. The museum has renovated the vacant former Christian Science Church, giving Karpeles 12 locations.
Legends Corner Bar & Grille renovated and expanded a former restaurant on 7th Avenue near Augustana to create a new bar and grill.
2nd Avenue, a bar, completed a new façade.
Stern Center renovated the former Hyman Furniture, creating a new event center.
Stecker Graphics expanded into and renovated a new location.
Against The Grain Brewery & Alehouse, completed an adaptive reuse of the former Mi-Pa-Nora to create a new nano-brewery.
Rev Hard Inc., an auto specialty shop, completed a new façade.
Wendy’s demolished its former restaurant and rebuilt a new restaurant.
Hungry Hobo expanded and renovated its 18th Avenue store.
Golden Block, or the One Block at a Time Award
College Hill District Organization, a new group finalized this year to focus on revitalizing the College Hill area located near Augustana.
Golden Shopping Bags
This was a new award created this year to recognize the city’s growing retail activity
-- Fabulous Finds, a resale shop that moved and expanded to College Hill.
-- Q-C Collective, a new artists cooperative opened in The Shoppes on 2nd.
-- Aja Styles, new retail clothing store in The District.
-- The District Visitor Center, operated by the Quad-Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, relocated from the foot of Centennial Bridge to The District and expanded its gift shop.
-- The District Mini Mart, the first of two new grocery-type stores planned for downtown, opened.
-- Comfort Furniture, a new furniture store in Watchtower Plaza on 11th Street.
-- Navarro Canoe Co., renovated the former BMW motorcycle shop on 3rd Avenue. Navarro specializes in handcrafted canoes.