$80-million Big Island development case heard, but not yet resolved

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Attorneys representing Rock Island and Milan were back in court to argue their sides of a dispute over the development of Big Island.

The hearing Wednesday, April 30, 2014 followed a judge's decision in January 2014 that allowed the Village of Milan, the Big Island River Conservancy District, Blackhawk Township, and four Big Island residents would be able to argue their case in future court hearings.

Much of the argument seemed to be over who would control the development project.

The city of Rock Island wants an $80 million retail development at the corner of IL-92 and I-280 near Jumer's Casino. Rock Island plans to charge their residents on Big Island a $50 assessment fee to fund a new road from IL 92 to give access to the retail project.  Construction crews would also have to modify Big Island's levee in order to develop the area.

Residents opposed to the project said in earlier forums that they were concerned about those levee modifications, and about increased traffic to the area.

Attorneys representing the Village of Milan have said that, since Milan and the Big Island River Conservancy District oversee flood control, they should have a say in how the area is developed.  They also claimed that the Rock Island residents, who live on the island, don't live close enough to benefit from the project.

Attorneys for Rock Island have argued that the city should have decision-making authority, because the city owns the property.

After the April 30 hearing that lasted three-and-a-half hours, Judge Lori Lefstein said she would take the information from the hearing under advisement.

It could be a month before her decision is made.

For more of our coverage of the Big Island development debate, click here.