About Us

Who We Are

The Development Association of Rock Island (DARI) began in 1986. Thirteen charter members sought to create a private sector non-for-profit to revitalize the Rock Island economy devastated by the collapse of Midwestern manufacturing in the mid-1980’s. Early on, DARI developed a bias for action. Following the defeat of a proposal to resurface downtown streets with a special tax district, DARI members pledged an amount equal to that which the special tax would have generated. 

The spirit of inclusion has remained a key ingredient in DARI’s success, has always maintained a membership of about 65 members, and has continued to be the organization to get things done. DARI responds in creative ways to move important projects forward. Whether downtown or at commercial or industrial sites throughout the city of Rock Island, DARI continues to be an economic development-driving machine working through its strong partnerships to expedite projects and grow the community.

DARI gives the private sector a vehicle through which it can fund highly focused redevelopment efforts undertaken with a variety of partners. Its success stories are visible on every corner, from city neighborhoods to industrial parks. 

In its 32nd year, DARI continues to earn the reputation for the ability to find a way to get the tough jobs done. DARI and its members have worked with city officials and others to lead the way on job growth, industrial site redevelopment, community marketing, neighborhood revitalization, riverfront and streetscape improvement, educational reform initiatives, and providing a space where the community’s voice is heard. 

Our Focus

Business Development

Serving as the community liaison to new and established businesses that are seeking to locate, start or grow.

Real Estate Development

Working with area real estate and construction professionals that help guide development projects to take shape in Rock Island.

Economic Development

Leading corporate stakeholders that seek to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community by creating and/or retaining jobs and supporting or growing incomes and the tax base.

Goals

Enhance Image

Identify and communicate the unique identity that celebrates our community heritage while embracing the future of the city.

Improve Housing Market

Continued focus on projects that remove blight, repurpose underutilized buildings and establish a more resilient neighborhood dynamic with a variety of building types and a mixture of resident income levels.

Create Jobs

Facilitate business growth that attracts new jobs and assist in retaining businesses that provide permanent jobs.

Provide Business Assistance

Equip small business owners and entrepreneurs with knowledge, guidance and resources.

Promote Development

Encourage commercial, industrial and recreational development through ownership of properties or management of businesses.

Key Initiatives

Our work will be focused outward (serving as the catalyst to stimulate community and economic development). That work will also be structured to build our organizational strength, capacity, and sustainability. DARI will look at all events and activities as opportunities to build relationships, promote Rock Island, and create viable long-term projects.

Workforce
Commercial & Industrial
Housing
Neighborhoods
Downtown