Rock Island Conservation Club Concerns Over Big Island - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rock Island Conservation Club Concerns Over Big Island Development


The city of Rock Island is buying 100-acres of land on Big Island for $1-million. The area is across the highway from Jumer's Casino and Hotel, near the interchange of I-280 and Highway 92. The city is planning on building either a big box store or an outlet. However, a group is raising questions about the environmental implications of the development.

In a quite corner of Big Island, the Rock Island Conservation Club has kept acres of land safe for the past 80-years.

"It's a very nice place that's close to town," says Jay Pienta, President of the Rock Island Conservation Club, "Our members enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, and eagle watching during the winter."

Members of the conservation club are worried about the proposed development, because a section of land the city is buying is right across the lake from the club.

"I think there are a lot of unanswered questions that we don't know about and it could affect the club, possibly detrimentally," adds Pienta.

The conservation club has 110-acres of land and 3 lakes. Members' big worry is the road right outside the gate.

"Members who come out here with their families, they ride their bicycles and stuff like that," says Pienta, "If these roads become a main thoroughfare, safety could be an issue too."

They also wonder about the environmental impact more traffic and a large development will have.

"There could be potential soil pollution depending on what moves into that area," adds Pienta, "Which will affect our lands and our waters."

The conservation club says they aren't opposed to Rock Island bringing in business.

"Our concerns are the land and the natural lands are going away," says Pienta, "Sometimes you have to think if that's more important than development."

Conservation club members also want to know more about the city's plans.

"So, we're aware of what's going on and we can either put in our input or find out exactly what their plans are for that property," says Pienta.

Rock Island is working with the Corps of Engineers on possible changes to the levee. The development is still in its early phases. The city still has to re-zone the land, annex 10-acres and find a developer.

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