A Rock Island County judge has scheduled a July 18 injunction hearing that could affect the ability of Fareway Stores Inc. to construct a grocery store on the site of the shuttered Audubon Elementary School in Rock Island.

Circuit Court Judge James Conway granted a request for a temporary restraining order, or TRO, filed by Rock Island attorney Tom Benson, who represents neighbors of the former school at 2617 18th Ave.

Benson argued that Fareway's application violates Rock Island's Planned Unit Development District ordinance. Conway granted the restraining order Monday.

"I met the burden for TRO," Benson said. "This prevents Fareway from requesting to bring an ordinance change to a vote by the city council. And they can't ask the council to have a special meeting to vote on it. The restraining order is in effect until the 18th. What is going to happen in between that, I don't know."

The next scheduled council meeting is July 22.

Fareway has an option to buy the Audubon building for $475,000 from the Rock Island-Milan School District. The option expires Aug. 1.

Attorney Jason O'Rourke of Davenport, who represents Fareway, had argued that Benson's motion for the temporary restraining order was "premature."

O'Rourke also argued that if Conway denied the motion, it could result in Fareway not building a store in Rock Island.

The Rock Island Preservation Commission voted 9-0 on April 24 to designate the 90-year-old Georgian Revival-style Audubonbuilding as an historic landmark. However, during a May 13 city council meeting, Rock Island aldermen voted to overturn that designation.

On June 4, the city's planning commission denied Fareway's rezoning request that would have allowed demolition of the school and construction of a store.

A June 24 public hearing called by the city council on the project drew more than 150 people.

(1) comment


Exactly how many grocery stores do we need on one poorly planned already far too congested road? This can't benefit the community. Dont know too many people who cant trek the extra half block to hy-vee. Or down the road to the other 2 grocery stores congesting the already poorly planned 18th ave. (Aldis & jewel)

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