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Group searching for private company to buy RICO courthouse before demolition

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ROCK ISLAND– The demolition of the Rock Island County Courthouse is now being measured in weeks, not months. And although time is running out, one group says it’s still got a chance to save the 122-year-old building.

On Monday dozens of people picketed outside the courthouse, trying to make a push to keep the building intact.

Back in July, the county board voted 15 to 7 to knock it down, using $1.6M originally budgeted for the new justice center annex.

But this picketing group says that money should not be used for the demolition, and they say the board made its decision too quickly without considering all the options to save it.

The one option they say could still happen is a private developer taking over the property to renovate it.

"I want to sell this to an enterprising developer and then put it on the taxpaying rolls, property taxes. Just imagine how much property taxes this thing would have to pay. It would be good for our county and good for the community," says Rock Island County Board Member Rich Morthland.

The group says it has sent out 58 requests for development to developers all over the Midwest, and they hope to get responses by the end of November.

They need to generate interest quickly. Demolition of the courthouse is set to start on December 30.

The new annex is scheduled to be complete in February 2019.

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