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Rock Island Waits on Courthouse Demolition

Before issuing a demolition permit for the county courthouse, Rock Island officials plan to wait for approval from two state agencies. Michelle O'Neill reports.

Credit submitted / City of Rock Island
City of Rock Island
Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms

Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms says the contractor hired by Rock Island County's Public Building Commission has not yet applied for a demolition permit.

But once it does, the city will have at least some say in whether it's granted.

As long as the application meets all local, state, and international code requirements, the city can't deny it.

In November, the Illinois DNR's State Historic Preservation Office revoked a permit it originally granted to build an annex to the criminal justice center.

In addition, the Illinois EPA has not approved a stormwater runoff plan for that project.

Credit WVIK News
The main entrance of the Rock Island County office building has been closed for many years. (file)

Thoms says it appears the Rock Island County Board failed to keep up with maintenance and repairs over many years.

But now it should do what the public wants, "turn the tide" and take care of existing buildings so the same thing doesn't happen in the future.

A contractor has been removing asbestos from the 120-year-old building and may complete the process in a week or two.

About a week ago, Rock Island County Chief Judge Walter Braud ordered the board and building commission to demolish it, saying the vacant courthouse poses a danger to employees and visitors.

Officially, Michelle's title is WVIK News Editor which really just means she wears many hats, doing everything there is to do in the newsroom and around the radio station. She's a multimedia journalist and serves as Assignment Editor, reporter, radio news producer, copy editor, announcer, news anchor/host, and photographer. She also writes and produces content for WVIK.org and social media and trains interns.
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