Rock Island County Board votes on courthouse proposal

A motion has failed during a special meeting following a proposal for the future of the Rock Island County Courthouse.
Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 2:35 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2021 at 7:15 PM CDT
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ROCK ISLAND Co., Ill. (KWQC) - A motion has failed during a special meeting following a proposal for the future of the Rock Island County Courthouse.

The council met Monday afternoon to discuss the proposal from Joe Lemon, with QC Offices Real Estate Holdings. The proposal was to purchase the building for $250,000 which included the county selling the building while retaining ownership of the underlying land.

Lemon’s $250,000 offer for the Rock Island County courthouse building failed with 17 no’s. The decision came after roughly an hour of closed meeting discussion. Following Monday’s decision, some board members saw the outcome as a missed opportunity.

“The outcome isn’t exactly what we thought it was going to turn out to be and it’s been a long hard fight,” Rock Island County board member, Ed Langdon said.

“We had a flawed document but we had a great opportunity to have this building be repurposed and used again as a courthouse for the rest of our lives and lives beyond,” Rich Morthland said, “A ship of opportunity just sailed away in Rock Island County and I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Board member, Kai Swanson, was among those who voted no to the proposal as it was.

“Article 3 states that in the event it’s not chosen he still holds the option. We do not,” Swanson said. He said a clearer understanding would be “if GSA (General Services Administration) doesn’t award the contract then the option is absolutely null and void. No, no-no. There’s wiggle room,” Swanson said. “Before you think about voting yes on this please read the agreement, not for anything I said but for what the agreement says.”

There was also a vote to remove an article regarding the Exercise of Option, but that failed and as a result, the board voted for the option agreement as it was. A supermajority of the two-thirds vote would’ve been needed for the sale agreement to move forward. The following board members voted against the sale agreement: County Board Chairman Richard “Quijas” Brunk, Vice Chairman Brian Vyncke, Dorothy Beck, Larry Burns, Dewayne Cremeens, Jeff Deppe, Carla Enburg, Kenneth “Moose” Maranda, Luis Moreno, Melissa Moreno, Angie Normoyle, Scott Noyd, Pat O’Brien, Rod Simmer, Edna Sowards, Kai Swanson, and Johnnie Woods.

The following board members voted for the sale agreement: David Adams, Lauren Boswell-Loftin, Drew Clevenger, Don Johnston, Ed Langdon, Drue Mielke, Richard Morthland, and Robert Westpfahl.

After the vote the board recessed.

The next scheduled meeting of the Rock Island County Board will be on April 20 at 5:30 p.m.

This is a developing story. TV6 will update this story as more information becomes available.

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