RI council delays vote on returning federal money

Posted Online: July 14, 2014, 11:04 pm
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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com
ROCK ISLAND - Aldermen on Monday decided against voting on a proposal for the city to return most of a $1.5 million check to the federal government.

City officials recommended the council not move forward with a plan to develop a new business park off Andalusia Road.

In 2011, the U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded the city a $1.5 million grant for the project. If the council chooses to abandon the project, the city would have to return the money.

A proposal on Monday's agenda to discontinue the project was withdrawn after council members asked for more time to consider it.

Jeff Eder, the city's economic development director, said Rock Island has retained a majority of the $1.5 million grant, with only a small portion spent on engineering and other costs. If the remainder of the money is returned to the federal government, the city will not face any penalties or restrictions on applying for future funding, Mr. Eder said.

Developing infrastructure at the proposed Ridgewood Business Park would cost close to $3 million. Even with the grant funding, the city has only $2.3 million budgeted.

Demand to fill the business park is not strong enough to justify spending $700,000 on the project, city officials said, in their recommendation to scrap it.

Mr. Eder said council members had asked that the proposal be withdrawn from Monday's agenda until a later date to allow further consideration. There was no discussion of the project by aldermen at Monday's meeting.

Also on Monday, a request for a special-use permit from attorney Delores Tapia to continue allowing her to use her home at 801 44th St. for her law practice was withdrawn.

City planning staff had found the plan for the business might be "too intense" for the residential area because of a lack of off-street parking for clients. Ms. Tapia withdrew her application but may return with a modified plan at later date.


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