Rock Island County Courthouse future remains uncertain

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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) – The Rock Island County board is set to decide next Tuesday if it will transfer power to the Public Building Commission to use funds to demolish the courthouse.

The 120-year-old structures fate has been up for debate since July 2017. At the Committee of the Whole meeting on Wednesday, July 11, Rock Island County Administrator Jim Schneider said he was still drafting the agreement but would have the version board members would vote on and sent out to members within 48 hours.

The meeting allowed time for public comment where six taxpayers said the county had not done its due diligence setting out a plan for demolition, deciding where the recorder’s office would move to and how new historic tax credits in the state could benefit the county.

The county board began considering an agreement with the PBC in December. At that time, they said they would explore other alternatives to demolition. At the July 11, Rock Island County Board Vice Chairman Richard Brunk stated no viable plan had been presented to the county and no investor had expressed interest in buying the structure.

Board Member Don Johnston said during the meeting he could not vote for the agreement as it was currently drafted. Board Member Cecilia O’Brien asked Schneider if it was possible for him to explore alternative options like historic tax credits.

If the board approves the agreement with the PBC, money bonded for the annex project would be used to abate and demolish the courthouse. The annex project had come in under budget. As long as no unforeseen costs came about, the PBC would use the $1.6 million left over to pay for the courthouse.

The board votes July 17.