Preservationists Claim Rock Island County Violated Terms of Courthouse Consultation
While Rock Island County finalizes plans to tear down the old courthouse, historic preservationists have not given up on trying to save it.
Architect Randy Brockway says the Courthouse Revitalization Committee has sent a letter to the Illinois EPA. In it the group claims the county has violated the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding. It's a legally binding agreement with two state agencies which became effective after an appellate court ruling in 2020.
Brockway says the memo requires Rock Island County to provide reports to the state every three months including status reports, plus schedule changes, complaints, and objections. The committee filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the reports, but the state said there are no reports to send.
In June, the Courthouse Revitalization Committee held a rally to protest the demolition of the 125-year-old building. Members also formally objected during a board meeting in August.
Brockway says the committee asked the Illinois EPA to take action. And if it does not, the group will formally complain to the state Attorney General.
A key issue during the long conflict has been the county's application to the Illinois EPA for a storm water permit. The agency issued that permit in September. And earlier this month, a Peoria County judge cleared the way for demolition.