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TIF District for RI Walmart

Rock Island is preparing to take the next step in its long effort to bring a new Walmart store to the city. Tonight aldermen will consider establishing the Watchtower Plaza tax increment financing district.

Jeff Eder, director of community and economic development, says the city first had to show the area qualified to be a tif district because of its "blighted" condition. Then had to get the approval of officials from the other taxing bodies.

"As property taxes go up, I can capture the increment and pay for the improvements to the district, whether through the development agreements, paying for road and sewer projects, or paying of the rehab of existing buildings."

The new tif district covers 70 acres, and is located generally between 9th and 11th Streets, and from 36th to 49th Avenue.

Eder says work on the project is going well - most of the companies and businesses have moved already, and the city is working with the last two.

"Dollar General is getting ready to break ground on their new building just north of McDonald's on 11th Street. And we are working with Hill and Valley, the baking company, to move to the QCIC (Quad City Industrial Center - the former Farmall plant). We're working with their contractor and designer, trying to get them moved by the end of the year. "

And that means demolition can begin this summer on some of Watchtower Plaza and nearby buildings. But Walmart has not yet set a date to begin construction of its new store.