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East Moline Approves Sale of Land for Forest Preserve

The proposed new forest preserve in East Moline is another step closer to reality.

In a 5-2 vote Monday night, the city council approved the sale of 180 acres of undeveloped land to the Rock Island Country Forest Preserve District.

President of the Forest Preserve Commission Kai Swanson says the privately-owned land has not been developed, and should be preserved.

"This is an extraordinary footprint of oak and hickory forest. These are some of the biggest--meaning oldest--trees in Rock Island County that aren't currently in a forest preserve."

It will be located along Route 92, and west of the I-80 interchange.

Swanson says the nearby Iliniwek Preserve will serve as a model for the new preserve.

"From the perspective of enviromental sustainability and quality-of-life issues, this is a no-brainer. I mean, under Mike Petersen's leadership at Illiniwek, we've got four endangered or threatened species that have come back to the county."

Swanson says the area is hard to build on--and if it was easy to develop, that would have happened in the last few decades. The project is made possible thanks to a $1 million grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation.

Aaryan Balu first set foot in audio journalism at WTJU Charlottesville and WRIR Richmond, and now works as WVIK Quad Cities NPR's Fellowship Host.