ROCK ISLAND -- Fareway Stores has organized an invitation-only meeting next week for people who own property adjacent to Audubon School and who have questions about plans to demolish the building and replace it with a supermarket.|
The "informational neighborhood meeting" will discuss the rezoning and development of the property at 2617 18th Ave., according to a notice sent to one household.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Wednesday, at Mighty Fortress Community Church, 1806 33rd St. Those who were invited "will be given the opportunity to ask questions about the proposed development."The notice added that "space will be limited to those invited."
A number of local residents have expressed opposition to the Fareway's plan by speaking against the project at public meetings and by establishing a social media site to protest the project also has been established.
Stephen Klien, an Associate Professor at Augustana College, who lives close to the school, has called on residents to protest outside Wednesday's meeting.
He's concerned that the new store will result in the loss of the green space that now surrounds the school. Economic interests are being put ahead of the "real wants and needs" of the community, he added.
The Fareway project has been backed by Rock Island City Council and the Rock Island/Milan School District. The district has an agreement to sell the vacant school to Fareway for $475,000.
Rock Island's Planning Commission will vote on a request to rezone the site for commercial use on June 4. The commission's recommendation will then move to the city council.
Calls to Fareway's corporate office in Boone, Iowa, were not returned Friday.
The Audubon school is in Ald. Kate Hotle's 5th Ward and she was the only member of the city council to vote against a motion to repeal a landmark status for the building.
She said Fareway's decision to meet with residents who live close to the school and listen to their concerns was a positive step.