By: Christine Souders
It's a multi-million dollar project stirring up controversy between two cities: The new Jumer's Crossing Development.
Monday night, Rock Island City Council gave their overwhelming support to move forward in the process to cut apart, then rebuild a levee for a new shopping center near Jumer's, despite backlash from the city of Milan and some Big Island residents.
"I'm here at the request of my neighbors to present for the record 157 signatures on 17," said James Whitt, who presented City Council with petitions signed by Big Island residents, and other community members opposing the new development.
But at Monday night's first reading, council members, including Big Island Resident and Alderman David Conroy, voted unanimously to send blueprints to the Army Corp. of Engineers.
"That's what we're looking for, is just to have approval that we can see if the plan will work by the Corp's regulations, so that's why I'm supporting it," said 22nd Ward Alderman Conroy, who adds the Corp. of Engineers requested to review 30 percent of the plan, to see if it's safe or not safe to build an entrance across the levee, into Big Island along Illinois 92 and 56th Avenue West, but Milan's Mayor said it isn't up to them.
"We know we own the levy. We know we are the ones to make the decision about modifications of the levy. Not the Corp. of Engineers," said Mayor Duane Dawson, City of Milan.
Dawson said the City of Milan has veto power over the levee, and could see both sides ending up in court.
But, those in favor of the project, including a local union organization, said Rock Island needs to build there.
"It certainly will provide hundreds of construction opportunities for the local construction community, and will anchor the already substantial development you've put in place," said Rory Washburn, Tri-City Building Trades.
Next Monday, in the second reading, city council will vote again.
If approved, they will send the blueprints to the Army Corp. of Engineers to see if it's safe to build there.