Rock Island Co. Plans to Consolidate Facilities on Courthouse Site

Nov 11, 2019

After oral arguments in the appeal of the Rock Island County Courthouse demolition, the head of the county board is confident the county and Public Building Commission will win. 

Richard Brunk, Chair of the Rock Island County Board
Credit submitted / Richard Brunk Facebook

Chair Richard Brunk says the separation of powers gives the chief judge the authority to tear down the courthouse without getting a permit from the State Historic Preservation Office.

And he says even if the county loses the appeal, nothing in the lawsuit would prevent the demolition.

Brunk says Rock Island County's attorney told the appeals court that the board already tried and failed to find a way to re-purpose the 122-year-old courthouse for county use.

And it's not willing to sell the property.

"The long-term efficiences will be huge. It'll save taxpayers a lot of money to consolidate county facilities whether it happens in two, five, or ten years down the road." He says the savings would dwarf the revenue from property taxes from a private developer.

The board and sheriff also say the courthouse poses a threat to the security of the new justice center annex. And the property has been the site of various Rock Island County buildings since 1841.

An audio recording of the oral arguments and questions from the justices is available online.

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