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Country Market owner opposes building store at Audubon School site

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The controlling owner of the former Rock Island Country Market says he is against putting a grocery store in at the Audubon School site.

City officials are considering various proposals for the Audubon School site in the 2600 block of 18th Avenue.  The 90-year-old building is on the list of Rock Island’s 100 Most Significant Unprotected Structures.

The city council overturned the building’s “landmark” designation because of the expenses involved with maintaining that status.    Fareway Stores, Inc. has proposed tearing down the now-vacant building to make way for a new store to be built on the site.  Another developer wants to renovate the building for possible residential use.

Dave Tennant says he thinks any new grocery store in the neighborhood should be put in the location of the former Rock Island Country Market at 2252 24th Street.  The location was a working grocery store for more than 30 years before it went out of business.  Tennant says the closure was forced because road construction restricted customer access to the store.

In a letter addressed to members of the Rock Island community, Tennant says rumored environmental concerns over old fuel tanks buried on his store’s property are exaggerated.  Tennant says environmental consultants have told him there are either no environmental concerns;  or, if environmental abatement is needed, there are federal funds available to help pay for it.

“In short, it is an ideal site for a grocery store, and we would welcome the opportunity to sell or lease the property to Fareway Stores – or any other prospective supermarket,” Tennant’s letter said.

Read Dave Tennant’s letter to the community – click here.

Get more of our coverage of proposals to redevelop the Audobon School site – click here.