Rock Island County board rejects proposal to sell courthouse to developer Joe Lemon

Local News

A fight to save history.

After years of debate the future of the Rock Island County Courthouse is still in limbo.

Three years ago county board members voted to demolish the 124 year old building to make way for green space.

A year later, a lawsuit to stop it.

Last year that was upheld by the State Appeals Court. Monday an offer to buy the building was denied.

That offer included to renovate the building, and lease it to the Federal Government for use as a Federal District Courthouse.

While many board members say they were all for seeing the building being refurbished, they say the agreement has too many holes, and was flawed.

Some board members wanted to amend a section of the proposal that would allow the county to take back ownership if the General Services Administration (GSA) would refuse the proposal.

That lost by a few votes, which ultimately made those county board members to make their decision to vote against the agreement.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t come to an agreement a tentative agreement on taking a couple of things out,” says Don Johnston, Rock Island Board member.

Rich Morthland, Rock Island Board member says, “We had what looked like to be a flawed document, but a great offer on the table to save this wonderful historic courthouse to repurpose it to do wonderful things for it. So I can show it to my children, and my grandchildren, and we walked a way from it.”

Board members tell Local 4 although they voted Monday, it’s not the end of the discussion.

They say in order to demolish the building it would have to come back before the board.

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