Tumbling wall in Moline awaits decision on repairs

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A hearing officer will determine if embattled landowner Roger Colmark is liable for repairs to a crumbling wall below the historic John Deere house in Moline.

That's a bill likely to top $500,000.

While a decision could be made next week, Colmark expects the situation will drag out in court for several months.

The broken wall along 12th Street is both a hazard and eyesore.

"This is a travesty," said neighbor Kathleen Schneider.

Cracked layers cover the sidewalk. Weeds rise to the sky. Neighbors like Schneider are sick and tired of health and safety issues.

"This is a city council travesty," she continued. "Excuses are not going to cover this situation."

That's why the mess is before the Municipal Code Enforcement System. Colmark could face fines and repair expenses reaching well into six figures.

"There is absolutely no value to this property," Colmark said during Friday's hearing.

While Colmark no longer owns the John Deere house, his family does own two surrounding parcels.

He believes that the city should pay up for the problems.

"They are stuck with it," he said. "They are constantly trying to drag me into the situation."

Both the city and Colmark agree that the wall is hazardous. But they strongly differ on who should pay for the repairs.

April storms made a bad situation even worse at the site. Extreme weather washed out a chunk of the wall while mud toppled onto the sidewalk. More than four months later, it looks much the same.

"The wall is still in bad shape," said Brad Hauman, Moline neighborhood improvement officer. "It's the city's position that it's Mr. Colmark's wall. Therefore, it's his responsibility to fix the wall."

But Colmark says the wall is in city right-of-way and Moline's problem.

"The bottom line is the city of Moline is going to end up fixing the wall," he concluded.

While verbal sparring continues, neighbors can only watch the weeds grow and wait.

"The wall needs to be fixed," Schneider concluded.

A crumbling wall that's waiting for action in Moline.