Audubon School - Another Possibility

June  04, 2013

     A competing proposal may be in the works for a former school in Rock Island. As the city considers the site for a new grocery store, developers of two historic properties in the Quad Cities now say they're interested in the Audubon School.

     Joe Lemon Junior, and his family, have renovated the historic railroad station in Rock Island into the Abbey Station banquet center, and a former convent in Bettendorf into a hotel and now a drug treatment center.   He calls the school a "beautiful historic landmark."

     "Having seen a lot of historic properties that are in poor condition, this one struck us as one that still is in pretty decent condition. And really kind of a nice asset for the community, provided it could be put to a productive use."

     Lemon says one possibility is to turn the vacant school into apartments or condomiums. 

     "This might have a future use even as a school. We've done a lot of research about charter schools in Illinois and the opportunity there. It seems that certainly it's laid out for the purpose of a school."

     Fareway Stores would like to buy the property on 18th Avenue in Rock Island, tear down the school, and build a new grocery store, but some neighbors are opposed. The proposal goes before the city's Planning Commission tonight. Lemon thinks the city should explore all the alternatives before allowing Audubon to be demolished.