Judge Rules Against Rock Island In Big Island Levee Battle - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Judge Rules Against Rock Island In Big Island Levee Battle

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Milan residents can claim a win over Rock Island.

A judge rules against Rock Island's plan to build a road across a levee.

Rock Island wants to build a business development across from Jumer's hotel and casino called Jumer's Crossing.

To do it, they'd have to tear down and rebuild a section of levee and neighbors and the Village of Milan didn't like it and took Rock Island to court.

The judge says Rock Island's claims are faulty on two major points.

The first revolves around its use of eminent domain.

The judge says state law is very clear.

Cities can only take land for specific reasons and from specific property owners.

River conservancy districts are left out of that list.

The judge says that's critical.

She writes Illinois' eminent domain law is written very narrowly.

Without river conservancy districts in the list, cities can't take from them.

The second point, the judge says the city argues federal law doesn't apply to it.

The judge says that's wrong.

Federal law prohibits any person from changing a federally constructed levee.

The judge says Rock Island doesn't have permission from the government to make any changes, so it can't.

This whole case started because Milan and the Big Island River Conservancy District would not accept Rock Island's levee changes without a complete study.

Rock Island argued it only needed to give Milan a 30 percent plan.

Milan Mayor Duane Dawson says he's happy the judge sided with his city.

He believes Rock Island made a mistake.

"To me the city of Rock Island bought a piece of property for one million dollars, without a way into it, and then decided to develop it, without a way into it.," says Dawson.

Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley says, "We're very disappointed about it, but we're now going to take a close look at all of our options and see what those options are."

The ruling came out very late Monday afternoon.

Rock Island's city council went into closed session to discuss this ruling at its meeting Monday night.

At this point the Jumer's Crossing project is still on.

However, with this ruling, it's not clear how Rock Island can get a road onto the property.

The city can appeal this ruling to a higher court.

However, the judge says it cannot take this case back through Rock Island County court.

 

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