A new offer has been made on the historic Audubon school in Rock Island. Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley confirmed a local man is matching Fareway's $475,000 offer to buy the land.
Joseph L. Lemon, Jr., developer and founder of the Abbey Foundation in Bettendorf, made the offer in hopes of renovating the building for some future use.
But Mayor Pauley said the offer is meaningless due to a contract Fareway already has with the Rock Island School District. Pauley said the contract gives Fareway the right to decide whether it wants to use the land and gives the company until Aug. 1 to make that decision.
Pauley said nothing is set in stone, but the historic school will likely be demolished and a Fareway store will go up in its place.
Residents living around the school have expressed concern about the chain going up in their neighborhood.
"To just demolish it, to come in and put a commercial building - I think that's a big loss to Rock Island," area resident Andrea Gaeta said. "I understand where people are coming from and that the school board wants to get rid of this, but obviously there are other offers on the table."
When asked about the positives of the project, Mayor Pauley said, "It's a grocery store that people have been asking for years - number one. Number two is 80-100 new jobs. Number three is $50,000 a year in sales tax, plus an additional property tax."
There will be a special meeting at Rock Island City Hall on Monday, June 24 at 5:30 p.m. to get the community's feedback on the Fareway project.