Rock Island City Council Moves Forward With Big Plans for Big Is - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rock Island City Council Moves Forward With Big Plans for Big Island

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The city of Rock Island will soon be the proud owners of about 100 acres on Big Island, after voting tonight to buy it for $1 Million.

The property in question is farmland right now, sitting at the intersection of Highway 92 and Interstate 280, just across the highway from Jumer's Casino.

That's what city leaders say makes it prime real estate for the city.

"I mean they have bus loads of people coming in, and they're going to continue to come in, and part of them will want to go gamble and part of them will want to go shop," Mayor Dennis Pauley explained.

The goal is to give those people a premiere place to do that shopping - and capitalize on that market.

It is a goal aldermen unanimously voted in favor of at Monday's city council meeting, agreeing to buy the land from Riverstone Group Inc. - to open the door for future development.

"It's something that we've been looking into for quite a long time, and the opportunity is amazing," said Alderman Terry Brooks, who represents the First Ward.

Possible development concepts include everything from an outlet mall or retail center, to a sporting goods store, gas station, and restaurants.

City leaders say the million dollar price tag for the land will be money well spent.

"I think it's going to quadruple the amount we put in," Alderman Brooks said.

"It's going to increase the tax base. It's going to help us tremendously," added Mayor Pauley.

Now, even with city council agreeing to buy the land, it will still be a while before any businesses could open on the site.

This was just the first step in a much longer process, which will require the city to annex about 10 acres, re-zone the area, and of course, find a developer.

"You have to have vision," Mayor Pauley said, "This isn't something that's going to happen in six weeks. It's not going to happen in a year. But you have to have vision and you have to have a thing for the future."

The next step is for the city to wire a $10,000 payment to be held in escrow while the deal is finalized. The rest of the money will be due as a cash down payment at the time of closing.

The closing date is set for mid-March.

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