Jobs at risk without Colona road project

Originally Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2014, 8:12 pm
Last Updated: Feb. 13, 2014, 11:11 pm
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By Lisa Hammer,

COLONA -- At least 25 jobs could be at risk if the city of Colona doesn't support a traffic light on U.S. 6 at East 550th Street and the entrance to Stonebridge subdivision, as part of a state-mandated road realignment project.

Todd Stoner, vice president of Tennant Truck Lines, which moved from Orion to Colona in 2012, told the city council this week that his firm seriously would consider moving 25 outdoor warehousing jobs in a second company, Tennant Yard Management, from Colona if the council doesn't support the stoplight.

He also said the firm is considering adding another eight to 11 outdoor warehousing jobs, which could be at risk.

Mr. Stoner said about 85 Tennant trucks go in and out of the business each day, and three nearby businesses add about another 100 trucks to the traffic. "A stoplight is a must for an acceptable level of safety," he said.

Aldermen have expressed concern because the city might have to fork out $750,000 to $1 million for the work. The original Stonebridge developer walked away from the subdivision project, which then was taken over by Blackhawk Bank & Trust.

The city, which is seeking bids on the project, has a $2 million state grant and another $150,000 for culvert extension under U.S. 6.

Mayor Rick Lack said actual costs for the city's part of the project won't be known until bids are opened March 6. He expects the council to take action on the bids on March 10 or March 24. He agrees the stoplight is necessary.

"There have been a lot of changes and delays caused by many factors and because of that, the city's cost has ballooned to a degree that I don't know that the city can afford to proceed without any further assistance," Mayor Lack said. "A number of council members are concerned, and rightfully so."

Unless the work is done this year, when there are other closings on U.S. 6 for seven culverts and a bridge, the city would incur extra staging costs, officials have said.

The city and Tennant are seeking other grants and funds to help with the costs.

"We need buy-in from the city council to pursue with legislative contacts," Mr. Stoner said. 'If not, we would seriously consider moving our outdoor warehousing operation to another community."

He said Tennant is willing to forego part of its tax-increment-financing incentives to help with the project.

Erik Jones, owner of the nearby I-80 Equipment, said he also wants the stoplight. "I would support the effort and think it's something that needs to be completed for safety and to help with the flow of the traffic, but it would not affect employment or jobs," he said. "For us, it's just the safety."

Mr. Stoner said when Tennant began looking to relocate from Orion, Colona was by far its top choice after looking at two sites in Illinois and one in Iowa. Wednesday, he said Tennant never would have moved to Colona if it knew the stoplight was "going to be in play."

Mr. Stoner told the council he knew of a developer of a high-end gas station and convenience store who is interested in Colona but not without the stoplight.

The mayor said he's aware of the potential for the new gas station but could not comment.


Local events heading

  Today is Saturday, April 19, the 109th day of 2014. There are 256 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Miss McCorkindale has opened millinery rooms over Gimbel's dry goods store, where she offers a choice lot of millinery goods, which she will manufacture to order.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The little South Park Presbyterian chapel celebrated it first Easter decorated with flowers for an afternoon worship service attended by a large congregation.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Wennerberg Chorus of Augustana College has returned from a 2,000-mile tour in the Eastern states and Illinois.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Col. Charles Lindbergh has stated that he is convinced that Germany's air force is equal to the combined sky fleets of her potential European foes.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Small gas motors may be permitted on boats in the lake to be built in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. The prospect was discussed yesterday at a meeting of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The annual Dispatch/Rock Island Argus Spelling Bee continues to be a family tradition. Ed Lee, an eighth-grader at John Deere Junior High School, Moline, is the 1989 spelling bee champion from among 49 top spellers in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties. He advances to the competition in Washington, D.C. Runnerup was Ed's sister, Susan.

(More History)