One of five trees is seen marked with a red painted “X” on the grounds of the old Rock Island County courthouse Monday.

A sycamore tree located at the northwest corner of the Rock Island County Courthouse property is being removed for safety reasons, Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos said Wednesday.

“This removal is in compliance with the pending demolition litigation and the plaintiffs are in agreement,” Bustos said.

Several entities — the National Trust for Historic Preservation; the Rock Island Preservation Society; the Moline Preservation Society; the Broadway Historic District Association; Frederick Shaw, one of the bondholders in the Justice Center Annex project, Diane Oestreich, a member of the Rock Island County Preservation Society, and Landmarks Illinois — have filed suit against Rock Island County and the Public Building Commission to keep the old courthouse from being demolished.

The case was moved to Peoria County to avoid conflict of interest.

Landmarks Illinois posted a bond of $336,000 earlier in April that will ensure a temporary restraining order remains in effect as the lawsuit to prevent the demolition of the courthouse works its way through the appeals process.

A tree limb fell during the July 3 "Red, White and Boom" annual fireworks display, killing two men and injuring four people who were on the courthouse lawn to watch the event. 

The families of the two men killed have a wrongful filed suit against the county.

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