Levee ruling favors Big Island/Milan

Originally Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014, 10:49 pm
Last Updated: Aug. 11, 2014, 10:50 pm
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By Stephen Elliott, selliott@qconline.com

ROCK ISLAND — Circuit Judge Lori Lefstein ruled Monday against the city of Rock Island in its attempt to condemn a section of levee on Big Island to build a road for a future multi-million dollar shopping and residential development.

The judge, in her opinion, sided with the Big Island River Conservancy District, the village of Milan, Black Hawk Township, Black Hawk Township Road District and residents of Big Island. She cited federal law prohibiting the proposed condemnation.

Rock Island plans to build a road over the 10.5-mile long levee running through Rock Island and Milan for the purpose of flood protection. In 2013, the city bought the land from Riverstone Group Inc. for $1 million.

Judge Lefstein took the case under advisement on April 30.

The levee was built by the federal government in the early 1980s. In 1978, the BIRCD and Milan signed an agreement to be the levee's sponsors, meaning each entity would maintain and operate it in accordance with federal regulations, the judge wrote.

In 2012, the city submitted a draft proposal to BIRCD and Milan to modify the levee, with the expectation the two groups would forward the plan to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its initial assessment.

But Milan and BIRCD determined the information was inadequate and requested more information. Rock Island did not forward any additional information, according to Judge Lefstein's ruling.

The judge also ruled the defendants have 30 days to petition for attorney's fees and costs.


Local events heading

  Today is Saturday, Sept. 20, the 263rd day of 2014. There are 102 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Recruits can get $500 by enlisting now. Lt Jobe has a recruiting office on Illinois Street.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Superintendent Schnitger formally inaugurated the Rock Island and Davenport Railway Line of the Holmes system by putting on four cars to start.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Wires of the defunct Union Electric Co. are being removed by city electricians.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The Bishop Hill softball team won the championship in WHB"S Mississippi Valley tournament at Douglas Park.
1964 -- 50 years ago: A boom in apartment construction has hit Rock Island, with approximately 300 units either in or near the construction stage or due for an early rezoning decision.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Members of the Bi-State Metropolitan Planning Commission are hoping to revive their push for a new $70 million four-lane bridge spanning the Mississippi River.

(More History)