The Rock Island-Milan Board of Education voted unanimously to accept a purchase agreement from Moline Acquisitions, LLC for the Audubon property Tuesday evening.
The $700,000 offer is contingent upon the site being rezoned for the buyer’s intended use, all building permits and licenses being approved by the City, the buyer, “in its sole and absolute discretion,” entering into a development agreement with the City of Rock Island.
District leaders said they don’t know what Moline Acquisitions intends to do with the site as of Tuesday, May 13.
“We are not economic development for the City of Rock Island. We are a school district. It’s a surplus piece of property, and we believe it is in our best interest to get $700,000 to help pay for the education of students in this community,” said superintendent Dr. Mike Oberhaus.
For some neighbors, though, the unanswered questions raise red flags.
“I’m really disappointed,” said Andrea Gaeta. “Leaving here, I feel just as worried and concerned about that property, if not more so, than I did before I got to this meeting.”
The site has been the target of much debate since the district decided against continuing to own and maintain the old Audubon school building. In 2013, community members defeated a bid by Fareway to demolish the building and turn it into a grocery store, citing traffic, noise, and pollution concerns.
Tuesday, Gaeta said those worries haven’t gone away.
“It is a neighborhood. It’s three sides residential, and if you look at the 18th Avenue section, even across the street, a majority of that is residential with a little bit of small business,” said Gaeta.
Moline Acquisitions now has 90 days to close on the deal.
The buyer has the option to extend the agreement an additional 60 days. If the transaction isn’t completed within the 150 days, the school district may place the property back on the market.