Highlights of the 2018 Quad Cities Big Table

ampadmin | December 28th, 2018

In April 2018, the Quad Cities Big Table, an initiative of the Q2030 Regional Action Plan, brought thousands of people together to talk, listen and learn from one another.

Conversations included participants ranging from children to seniors and were spread among offices, homes, schools, churches, libraries and other public and private spaces.

Over a 48-hour period, more than 5,000 Quad Citizens gathered around 508 tables to meet new people, share ideas and explore ways to improve lives and our region.

A survey sent to participants following the event was completed by 1,714 people. While many topics were discussed, here are the highlights of what hosts said their tables talked about the most:

A scene from the 2018 Quad Cities Big Table.

Community Development – 60%

  • Attract tourism and new talent to the area
  • Leverage the branding identity of the Mississippi River
  • Popular solutions and ideas:
    • Develop the riverfront and downtown areas
    • Walkable riverfront areas, interesting shops, great restaurants and cultural attractions

Children, Family and Education – 57%

  • Share resources that will benefit all schools on both sides of the river
  • Put families at the center of our communities and build stronger leadership skills in students
  • Popular solutions and ideas:
    • Promote trade education/apprenticeships; create afterschool programs that help students in under-resourced communities develop skills to advance; provide free early-childhood education for all Quad Citizens

Community Engagement – 54%

  • Acknowledge that young talent being developed locally is looking outward and is being drawn to other areas of the country
  • Popular solutions and ideas:
    • Community leaders should focus on struggling areas to help improve them
    • Collaborations between workforce/education institutions to place local students into local jobs after graduation
    • Create a central repository for all events happening in the area that includes a calendar of cultural programs, networking opportunities and cultural amenities for families, business, young talent and tourists

A scene from the 2018 Quad Cities Big Table.

Economic Issues – 52%

  • Create equitable opportunities on both sides of the river for housing, employment and education
  • Popular solutions and ideas:
    • Develop new transitional housing models for those getting started in life or getting back on their feet and a regional-based tax system that can help fund development and growth initiatives
    • Evaluate wages and benefits and address the growing income inequality in our region

Civic Pride – 39%

  • There is a need for the community to feel like we are one city that is filled with community pride
  • We must avoid unfriendly competition and stereotyping the communities that make up our region
  • Popular solutions and ideas:
    • With support of the media, find better ways of promoting why people need to venture out and explore each community in the Quad Cities
    • Embrace the history of the Quad Cities, including the legacy of the river, and find ways to promote that unified regional story

Equity and Social Inclusion – 36%

  • Region must develop an awareness of the challenges in the central city neighborhoods and work toward making those neighborhoods stronger
  • Work needs to be done to develop a more inclusive region and develop empathy for people from different backgrounds
  • Popular solutions and ideas:
    • Sponsor and promote more cultural and inclusive events across the region
    • Establish services to help immigrant and refugee families navigate the immigration system and our community as well as educational and employment opportunities

      A scene from the 2018 Quad Cities Big Table.

Arts & Culture – 31%

  • Area arts scene needs a revival that focuses on local artists and artisans, especially those in visual and performing arts
  • Artists, poets and dancers, for example, struggle to find ways to make a living on their talents
  • Popular solutions and ideas:
    • Work to involve local artists in developing local cultural offerings, offer incentives to local artists to contribute their talents and leverage their talent to create pieces that will help develop our riverfront and parks

Partnerships and Collaboration – 31%

  • Work to establish effective cross-river communications so cities are working jointly to serve the region
  • Find a way to eliminate duplicative services and leverage services for the whole region so that it does not come off as one city doing better than the other
  • Popular solutions and ideas:
    • Share and promote collaborations, so more people are inspired to form collaborations of their own
    • Partner businesses and schools to develop programs that give students the skills they need for tomorrow’s jobs

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