Rock Island Council Votes On Buying Big Island Land - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rock Island Council Votes On Buying Big Island Land

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Rock Island City Council is voting on Monday evening to buy land on Big Island for $1-million. The 100-acres are across the highway from Jumer's casino. City leaders are hoping to build on Jumer's huge customer base by building a retail development.

John Buffington's home is right across the street from the land the city is buying.

"I just don't know yet, you know, we don't know what they're going to do," says Buffington.

Buffington hasn't heard too much about the project. He is keeping an eye on it and waiting to see how it could change his neighborhood.

"They say it will increase the property value, which will increase the property taxes," adds Buffington.

By buying the land, the city will open the door for development. City leaders would like to see a major retail establishment, like an outlet or a big box store, built on the site.

"It's a combination of it being a destination and being near the interstate. It will not be any type of retail, this is the opportunity for there to be high end retail," says Rock Island City Manager, Thomas Thomas.

The city manager says the 100 acres are the perfect spot. Jumer's is the number one casino in the Quad Cities and it brings a lot of people into the area.

"The casino draws people from as far away as Chicago to Des Moines to St. Louis," adds Thomas, "The demographics of the clientele going there are the middle to upper class echelons, so it's prime for that type of thing."

Since Big Island is a low lying area there are flooding concerns. The city is working with the Corps of Engineers to work out any potential problems.

"Anytime you do this type of development near a levee it always requires the Corps," says Thomas, "We're going to be doing an access road from Illinois 92 and that's going to require looking at the levee."

While people who live on Big Island wait to find out who their new neighbor will be, Buffington is looking forward to one thing the development will bring.

"It would be easier to get on and off the island, because right now you have one way on and one way off," says Buffington.

There's still a long process before any businesses would open on Big Island. The city will have to re-zone the area, annex about 10-acres and then find a developer. However, first city council has to approve buying the land.