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UPDATE: City of Rock Island says courthouse demolition is on hold

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois  --  The latest road block to the demolition of the Rock Island County courthouse comes from the city of Rock Island.

After a Judge ruled demolition was legal on March 19th, 2019, construction crews now have equipment in place, but the city says nothing can be done until the county gets it's permission.

It's a question of law. As of now, the city believes the county needs a permit from them before demolition can begin. The county says there is a state law that allows them a work around. In other words, the county doesn't need city approval.

"It's a question right now," Rock Island City Manager Randall Tweet said. "It appears there may be some legislation that allows the county to demolish on their own without a permit, so we are just waiting for some information from the county. Once we receive that, our legal staff will review it."

Rock Island city leaders are asking the county to "prove it". The city says the courthouse is a county building and that they are only involved to issue a permit.

"The city follows the normal procedure, Tweet said. "Our only role in this is too issue a permit. We're not trying to speed up or slow down the process, just making sure everything is followed correctly."
Tweet says the city is expecting to receive the paperwork about the state law from the county today or tomorrow. Once they get the paperwork, a legal team will review it.
"Our only role is to issue a permit," Tweet said. "We just have to make sure all the paperwork is in order and all done correctly. Once we issued a permit, the building could be demolished at any point after that."
Tweet says the city and the county have a good relationship and communicate all the time.

"We don't want to get in a big fight or argument over this," he said. "Both sides just wanna make sure we go through the correct procedures."

The permit the city is looking for is a state mandated storm water permit. It's an Illinois EPA requirement to make sure the demolition doesn't harm neighboring areas.

"It's just one of the things that's required," Tweet said. "The county was notified by the EPA that they needed to have that permit. That would be one of the things that would be required before we were to issue the permit, if it came down to that."

Once the city receives the paperwork, they will see if the county needs a permit from them. If the county does need the city permit, a storm water runoff permit will be required, then demolition can take place.

If the county does not need a permit from the city, demolition can happen at any time.

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