The Rock Island-Milan School District is selling one of its old schools and replacing it with a well-known grocery store in the Quad Cities.
On Tuesday, November 13th, the school board unanimously (5-0) approved a real estate purchase agreement with Fareway Stores, Incorporated for Audubon Elementary School on 18th Avenue. The offer is for $475,000.
The school district closed and put Audubon up for sale in 2010 to make way for its first magnet school, the Rock Island Center for Math and Science. Rock Island Mayor, Dennis Pauley, says Fareway - which already has locations in Moline, Davenport, and Bettendorf - has been looking at locations in the city for some time and this property fits their vision.
"This is a great opportunity," says Mayor Pauley. "For years, people have been asking us to look at bringing a Fareway to Rock Island. We showed [Fareway] a lot of properties throughout Rock Island. We looked at the Old Country Market and we've looked at several other spots. This particular facility was the one that best met their needs."
But Mayor Pauley admits the decision and process is - and will be - a sentimental one. Like the recent demolition of the old Lincoln School, there are a lot of former students - like Mayor Pauley himself - who will be sad to see Audubon demolished.
"I went to that school," says Mayor Pauley. "I went to grade school at Audubon so it is sentimental, but it is time to move on and put the property back to good use. It's been sitting there for two years empty. They've tried to put other things in there and they just haven't had a bid and this is the first bid they had. It was an excellent bid and it's time to move on."
Representatives from Fareway were at Tuesday's school board meeting, but would not do any interviews with the media. They say this is the first step in a long process and they plan on releasing more information in the coming days.