The sale of the Iowa Welcome Center in LeClaire is moving forward after two public hearings approved the purchase agreement this week.
Markman Peat, a Davenport-based sand and soil company, wants to use the building as its new corporate headquarters. Closing is tentatively scheduled by Nov. 21
The Mississippi Valley Welcome Board had sought $625,000 for the building and its eight-acre lot. Markman Peat Corp has submitted an offer of $550,000, with a request for tax abatements of 80 percent the first five years, reducing to 20 percent by the ninth year.
LeClaire Mayor Bob Scannell said the city council on Monday night approved the sale under those terms by a 3-1 vote, with the lone dissenter, Terri Applegate, not citing a reason for the no vote.
"I think it's a win-win situation for the city," said Mayor Scannell. "We'll get an established company that will bring in more than jobs, and they'll have salesmen using local hotels and restaurants. They're paying a good price too."
On Thursday, the Scott County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the sale of the center to Markman Peat. There were no comments from the public or board members.
Increased use of the Internet and GPS systems led to fewer visitors for the Welcome Center, prompting its closure in December 2011. The escalating operation and maintenance costs prompted the decision to sell the facility.
"Since the convention and visitor's bureau terminated the program, we've been left with an empty building," said Tim Huey, Director of Planning and Zoning for Scott County, who also is on the Mississippi Valley Welcome Board."There have been no state funds dedicated to it."
The center was jointly owned by Scott County and LeClaire, Bettendorf and Davenport. To facilitate its sale, Bettendorf and Davenport officials transferred their ownership of the building to Scott County in November 2011.
Today is Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today. 1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass. 1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links. 1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned. 1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today. 1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.