Residents looking for answers on historic Rock Island County courthouse

Local News

Some people in Rock Island county are looking for answers from the county board about the old courthouse.

This week the board decided to sell the county-owned nursing home Hope Creek Care Center to a Aperion Care.

That raises a question.

Why is the county board willing to sell the nursing home. But not the old courthouse to developers who want to save it from the wrecking ball?

One woman calls the Rock Island County board’s decisions on the historic courthouse “disturbing.” She feels the board isn’t listening to resident’s concerns and it and it frustrates her.

“It’s kinda like a game of whack-a-mole,” Bridget Ehrmann, a Rock Island resident said. “We would come to the county board meetings, and say what can we do to help? And they say ‘We haven’t been able to find investors.’ So we find investors and they say ‘Well we don’t really wanna sell it because it’s too close to the new courthouse. Uh, snipers.”

Ehrmann has been fighting to try and save the courthouse since 2018.

“You know the demolition itself is gonna cost $1.6 million, I don’t understand why we’re turning away millions of dollars in jobs and investment in our struggling community.”

Rich Morthland is one board member who’s in favor of selling the courthouse, but says he doesn’t know why sale discussions aren’t happening.

“There’s been an agenda to remove that building as long as I’ve been involved in government in Rock Island County,” No one has told me what the real endgame is. But there is one, and they’re not talking about it.”

Morthland said selling the courthouse should be easier than selling Hope Creek.

“It was gut-wrenching. There were no good answers,” Morthland said. “It was well too late for that. So it was a difficult decision no matter which decision somebody chose. This strikes me as a no-brainer.”

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