Lessons from Greenville

by Sherry Ristau, President/CEO
 
Downtown Davenport, Iowa
 
I recently returned from a trip with 14 other local Quad Citizen leaders to Greenville, South Carolina, as part of CEOs for Cities. The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend made an investment in the opportunity last year because we recognized the strength in bringing together leaders from a cross-section of our community.
 
And what better time to do it then right now, as our region builds momentum with the Q2030 regional movement and is poised to make serious enhancements for our future. As Q2030 moves forward, we need passion, expertise, resources and ideas from every corner of the Quad Cities.
 
We need you.
 
I’d like to share a quick story about the transformation of Greenville’s downtown area, which is recognized nationally as one of the most walkable cities in the country.
 
Long ago, the city built a bridge that blocked the view of the falls located in their downtown. Twenty years ago, the community identified the falls as an asset and began the work of getting the city to remove the bridge. It took time, resources, and people willing to navigate the politics and barriers that can derail well-meaning community projects.
 
After a lot of discussion, controversy and debate, they were eventually successful. The whole community embarked on a downtown rebirth, tearing down the vehicle bridge and replacing it with a beautiful walking suspension bridge. One of the groups they credit with the vision is the Greenville Garden Club. Businesses and activities have bloomed around the heart of these falls and the Greenville downtown is now vibrant, attractive and alive. 
 
Where in the Quad Cities do we need to put our minds together, buckle down and improve our community? The possibilities are endless. I returned from Greenville realizing we can’t sit back and expect our cities to make us great. We—you and I as Quad Citizens—have the responsibility to create the spaces that will attract the talent, ideas and resources to make the Quad Cities an even better place to live, work and play.
 
It takes a cross-section of people from both the public and private sectors to help make it happen. That means all of us. We have to work together, not just in sharing ideas, but investing our most precious assets—time and money.
 
It’s why I believe so much in the power of our mission at CFGRB. Together with people like you, we are more than just a place where someone can leave a legacy or provide grant dollars. As your Community Foundation, we are an important piece of building this community into all that it can be with you.
 
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The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend uses the voices of youth in our area to provide insight on issues in the community.
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