Rock Island buys Big Island land for $1 million

2013-02-04T22:33:00Z 2013-02-05T15:03:41Z Rock Island buys Big Island land for $1 millionBarb Ickes The Quad-City Times
February 04, 2013 10:33 pm  • 

Now that it has the city council’s blessing, Rock Island should own 90 acres on Big Island by the middle of next month.

The Rock Island City Council voted 5-0 Monday to spend

$1 million on the land, currently owned by RiverStone Group Inc., and to close on the sale March 15. Two aldermen were absent, according to City Manager Thomas Thomas.

Dubbed Jumer’s Crossing, the city has designs on the property at the intersection of Interstate 280 and Illinois 92. A market study last year showed the land across Interstate 280 from Jumer’s Casino and Hotel is ripe for retail development, city officials said.

“In 2008 Jumer’s Casino and Hotel was built on the southeast corner of this intersection,” Monday’s city council agenda stated. “Jumer’s has become the premier Casino and Hotel destination in the Quad-Cities. It is the desire of the city to build upon this success.”

In fact, city officials are so eager to develop a portion of Big Island that Thomas keeps an aerial map of it on his office wall, calling Jumer’s Crossing the most comprehensive development of his career.

The project needs more than city council approval before it can be marketed to possible retail tenants, however.

Big Island, which contains about 200 homes and sits six feet above the neighboring village of Milan, also contains an elaborate flood-control system. The city is asking the two owners of the system, Milan and the Big Island River Conservancy District, to modify the levee system to accommodate development on the RiverStone land.

“It’s very unusual, in fact, a precedent, to propose a modification of this magnitude,” Village Administrator Steve Seiver said. “I think there is an expectation for us to move it forward. In fairness, we need to provide them with a yes, no, or a maybe, with modifications.”

Thomas said the city must have a timeline in hand before approaching any retailers about locating on Big Island. Until the flood-system modifications are approved, he said, marketing is on hold.

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(6) Comments

  1. PainfullTruth
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    PainfullTruth - February 05, 2013 2:57 pm
    When the casino was built the residents of Big Island complained and complained about the environmental effects of building the casino across the highway from Big Island. It didn't matter that no property on Big Island was effected, but they still complained. Fast forward to today, 5 years after the Casino was built and there are still no environmental issues that have been found, yet Big Island residents still complain.

    Now the City of Rock Island wants to purchase land that is owned by a private company and you guessed it.... Big Island residents are once again mad about it? The whole annexing part is a valid concern. Is Rock Island going to annex the entire island or just the portion that the city purchased? If it is just what they purchased then the residents once again need to sit on their hands quietly and behave like adults instead of pouting like 5th graders by putting up ignorant yard signs with false environmental claims like last time.
  2. Klaatu
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    Klaatu - February 05, 2013 1:11 pm
    The problem with this is that Rock Island is doing an adverse possession. They don't care whether the people down there want to be annexed or not. They pulled the same thing a few years ago in Milan. They annexed an entire neighborhood without the consent of the people who live there. The people that live there went to Milan and Milan then annexed it. The court ruled that Milan's annexation was valid because they immediately started city services. They started police patrols and snow removal instantly. Rock Island never even intended to that stuff at all. This is a land grab by Rock Island that probably most of the people that live out there don't even want. Shouldn't they have the choice to join Rock Island or not? It isn't right that Rock Island can force its will on them.
  3. proletariat
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    proletariat - February 05, 2013 12:07 pm
    It seems like more and more back door, secret deals show up every day now that we have all these city leadership positions filled with new people. I think it's time to clean house and find some accountable, transparent leaders who work WITH residents and businesses and don't just throw out these surprises.
  4. taz101
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    taz101 - February 05, 2013 9:09 am
    Call me crazy, but shouldn't we get the approvals needed before we spend 1 million dollars. Those people have very important environmental and safety concerns. What if Milan or Big Island do not approve the plan. Classic cart before the horse! The city just gambled a million tax payers $'s and the only sure winner is the Casino!!!!!
  5. iadude
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    iadude - February 05, 2013 8:21 am
    This can be your one-stop gambling center for the QC! Do a stip mall with pawn shops and hair salons (the women like to get fixed up before throwing their money away). No I'm not joking, got my facts direct from a gambling operator survey. Pawn shops and hair salons are the only local business that benefit most directly from gambling presence.
  6. J_Goz
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    J_Goz - February 05, 2013 7:43 am
    What a horrible mistake this is LEAVE BIG ISLAND ALONE
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