Originally Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013, 9:00 pm
Last Updated: Feb. 18, 2013, 10:07 pm
Rock Island approves new building for BHC learning center
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By Eric Timmons, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Rock Island City Council has approved a $2.1 million agreement that will see the Black Hawk College Adult Learning Center move from Watch Tower Plaza to a new development at11th Street and Blackhawk Road.
The package includes $406,000 for moving expenses and $1.75 million to construct a new building at the city-owned site of the old trailer park next to City Limits Saloon & Grill.
The city is buying properties at the site of the old Watch Tower Plaza shopping center on 11th Street that will be torn down to clear the way for a Walmart Supercenter.
At Monday's council meeting, aldermen approved the proposed agreement with Black Hawk College by a 6-0 vote with Ald. Chuck Austin, 7th Ward, not present.
The learning center building will anchor a new development city officials hope also attracts new retail and office units. Christine Ellsberg's State Farm Insurance agency also will move to the new development from the Watch Tower.
Aldermen also approved transferring ownership of the site for a nominal fee of $10 to11thStreet DevelopmentPartners LLC, a partnership formed by Pat Eickenberry and Kevin Koellner. The company will construct the new learning center building.
Ald. Paul Foley, 3rd Ward, said the proposed development was another step toward regenerating the 11th Street corridor.The city has taken out a $15 million line of credit to fund the purchase and demolition of properties at Watch Tower. Bonds will be issued by the city at a later date to pay down the line of credit.
In other business Monday, the council heard a presentation from aplanning and engineering consulting firm on the proposed Jumer's Crossing development.
The city recently bought the 90-acre site at Illinois 92 and Interstate 280 for $1 million from RiverStone Group Inc., of Moline.The council agreed to hireVierbicher consultant firm of Madison, Wis., in 2011 to analyze the site's potential and produce a development plan.
The plan shows space for a big box store in addition to a number of restaurants, smaller stores and an apartment complex.
The consultants found demand for a sporting goods, furniture and clothing retailers, restaurants and a gas station. A private developer would be brought in to work on the site if the plan goes forward.
Developing the site would require a modification of a 200-foot section of the the Big Island Levee and the city is working to get a permit for the work from Milan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Big Island River Conservancy District.
Ald. David Conroy, 2nd Ward, said he understood concerns about changes to the levee but added that the development was "too big an opportunity" for the city to miss.