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.
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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.