ROCK ISLAND -- Aldermen on Monday approved spending $1 million to buy 90 acres they hope to transform into a new retail hub.
Located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Illinois 92 and Interstate 280, near Jumer's Casino and Hotel, the land is owned by RiverStone Group Inc., Moline, which had planned to use it as a sand and gravel pit.
Big Island residents have opposed that plan, fearing the pit would undermine a levee that protects their homes from flooding.
At Monday's council meeting, aldermen voted 5-0 to buy the RiverStone site, with Alds. Paul Foley, 3rd Ward, and Joy Murphy, 6th Ward, absent.
Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley said he envisions an outlet mall, a large sporting goods store, restaurants and residential units on the site. About 17 acres of the 90-acre site must to be annexed by the city, he said.
A new tax-increment-financing district will be created to aid development of the site, said city manager Thomas Thomas. He said the site's proximity to Jumer's should attract retailers.
"This is just the beginning of the process," Mr. Thomas said.
Jeff Eder, the city's economic development director, said he already is talking to businesses that could set up shop at the new development, which will be called Jumer's Crossing.A market study by a consulting firm last year found demand for shops and restaurants close to Jumer's.
In other redevelopment action, aldermen at Monday's council meeting also took another step to bring a Walmart Supercenter to Watch Tower Plaza on 11th Street. The council approved spending $12,000 to hire an environmental risk-management firm to investigate part of the site that once housed a gas station.
EnviroNet Inc., of Davenport, will take samples from boreholes at the site of the old Plaza Gas Station to see if groundwater contains gasoline, lead or other pollutants. The consultants then will tell city officials if a cleanup is necessary.
The city currently is buying parcels at Watch Tower. It plans to tear down the shopping center and other nearby buildings to make way for a new Walmart.
Today is Wednesday, July 30, the 211th day of 2014. There are 154 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: After Sept. 1, every small box of matches will be required to have a 3 cent duty Lincoln stamp on it, and every large box will be one cent for every 100 matches. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Rock Island residents had contributed a total of $1,293 to the American Red Cross for the Johnstown flood relief fund. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Capt. Clark Means, new darkhorse twirler for the ARGUS staff, was in great form in his initial contest as a mound laborer. The result was that THE ARGUS trimmed the Union 6-5. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Hunter and Humprey Moody, young Decatur, Ill, brothers, lack only a few hours of establishing a new world light plane endurance record. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Gates of the 110th annual Mercer County Fair swing open tonight at Aledo for a full week of day and night activity. More that $36,000 will be paid in premiums and race purses. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The baseball field carved out of the cornfield near Dyersville, Iowa, continues to keep dreams alive for hundreds of visitors. Tourists from 26 state and France have visited Dan Lansing's farm to see the baseball diamond seen in the hit movie "Field of Dreams."