By Jack Cullen
A Quad Cities Big Table discussion last spring led to the creation of a new neighborhood association in Moline.
Friends Alvaro Macias and Geoff Manis organized a discussion at Macias’s home in Glen Oaks, an economically diverse neighborhood near John Deere Middle School, west of where Avenue of the Cities becomes 23rd Avenue. Sangria and snacks were served as 12 people talked and listened to each other with the simple goal of connecting with their neighbors.
“We all left excited about what’s next,” Macias said during a recent interview with iHeartMedia Quad Cities. “It was a perfect starter for what we’re continuing to build.”
The Glen Oaks Neighborhood Association since has met twice and has plans to reconvene a third time Jan. 23. Sixty-some people attended the last meeting, and Moline Police and Fire officials, as well as Mayor Stephanie Acri and Alderman David Parker Jr., 2nd Ward, have made appearances, too.
Macias is the Assistant Vice President of Community Development for Ascentra Credit Union and Manis is the Operations Manager for the Downtown Davenport Partnership, an arm of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.
The group’s main goals are to make Glen Oaks safer and more welcoming and inclusive. Several neighborhood representatives worked with city officials to install a pair of stop signs at the busy intersection of 15th Street and 24thAvenue, a school bus stop.
“Our kids are free to play around the neighborhood, and the more people who can keep a careful, watchful eye over them, is important to me,” said Manis, who grew up in the neighborhood. “And in addition to that, I want to get to know everybody and have fun.”
According to a follow-up survey of the 5,000 plus people who participated in the Quad Cities Big Table last April, 36 percent of hosts said their groups discussed equity and social inclusion.
“Action will happen if we work together,” said Macias, a member of the Q2030 Welcoming and Inclusive Workgroup. “You’ll be surprised with what your neighbors bring to the table.”
Jack Cullen , Q2030 Project Manager for the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce