A pair of buildings near North Scott High School will meet with the wrecking ball to make way for a major street reconstruction project in Eldridge.
A school-owned building, affectionately referred to as the "Silver Bullet" for its appearance, and a former feed store now are scheduled for demolition in June. The Eldridge City Council approved a $3,200 bid with Holst Trucking, LeClaire, at its meeting Monday night.
Mayor Marty O'Boyle said the city decided to work in conjunction with the school's demolition project and hire the same contractor.
"We needed both for the road," O'Boyle said of the reconstruction of the intersection of South 1st Street and LeClaire Road, where the store sits. The property was purchased by the city about three years ago.
The district has used the former River Valley Coop building — adjacent to the feed store — for storage and indoor sports practices. O'Boyle said the school owns the building but Eldridge owns the ground on which it sits.
The estimated $3.5 million reconstruction project will rebuild the intersection and add turn lanes in all directions. Work will extend from the city's public works building on LeClaire Road through and including the North 2nd Street intersection. On South 1st Street, it will extend from south of River Valley Coop's silos to the high school's most southern driveway.
"The point is to blend the commercial area into our North Second Street Historic Downtown," O'Boyle said. The city completed a historic streetscape of its "old downtown" in Spring 2018. "We want to blend the area so there is a visual connection."
Eldridge Police Chief Dave Kopatich said the road project is the being driven by the congestion at the intersection and the need for a wider turning radius for the semi-truck traffic.
"It's more so (a problem) in the fall when farmers are hauling corn and beans to the elevator," he said, adding that others use the intersection to reach some of the industry down on Blackhawk Trails Road. "It's growing pains. As the town keeps growing so does the amount of vehicles and congestion."
O'Boyle said the street project has been pre-engineered, but detailed engineering work will begin in October when federal funds are released. The project will be paid for by 80 percent federal Surface Transportation Block Grant funds and 20 percent local funding. Construction work could begin in spring of 2020, he added.