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ROCK ISLAND — The old Zimmerman Honda building in downtown Rock Island is one step closer to being demolished.

That's thanks to action taken at Monday night’s meeting of the Rock Island City Council.

The YWCA of the Quad Cities purchased the property earlier this summer. In a letter, CEO of YWCA Quad Cities Julie Larson requested the city disconnect sewer and water services to the property at 1704 5th Ave. The city council unanimously approved that request.

According to the letter, the YWCA will build a new facility at the site and has already received bids for demolition.

Demolition is slated for September, the letter added.

On Monday night, the city council voted to disconnect sewage and water services by a 4-0 vote. (Aldermen Ivory Clark and Dylan Parker were absent from Monday’s meeting. Alderman Dave Geenen abstained.)

Also on Monday night, the board approved an amendment to the development agreement with Green Thumb Industries (GTI), a cannabis cultivator and processor. 

In December of last year, the city council approved an incentive package to encourage GTI to expand their facility in Rock Island.

GTI is currently planning to expand its operation in Rock Island by building a new 60,000-square-foot facility to complement its existing one at 8221 51st St., according to a memo written last winter by Chandler Poole, community economic development director for Rock Island.

The project was originally estimated to cost about $8 million, but the cost has since climbed to more than $17 million, Poole said on Monday night.

The incentive package unanimously passed by the city council in December included a reimbursement of $75,000 for development costs.

In addition, the company would receive a reimbursement of 90% of the city's portion of any real estate taxes above the 2017 assessed value for the facility, according to Poole’s memo from last year. That part of the incentive deal was not to exceed a total of $700,000 or five years, whichever came first, the memo added.

However, the amendment passed on Monday night tacked onto the original deal an additional two years of reimbursement or $60,000 in the city’s portion of real estate taxes, whichever comes first.

“They’re adding close to 100 jobs. It’s a hell of an investment in our city,” Poole said in an interview before the meeting. “This is now a nationwide company. They could easily shift somewhere else.”

Poole added that the company could expand again in the future.

“It’s a great project, great jobs,” Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms said to the council.

Also on Monday night, the council, led by Alderwoman Jenni Swanson, announced the Rock Island Citizen of the Year nominees and winners for 2019. Winners included:

  • In the business category, Cool Beanz / Annette Hutto;
  • In the education category, Andrea Parer;
  • In the individual category, Heidi Huiskamp Collins;
  • In the professional category, Sarah Stevens;
  • In the city employee category, Jeff VenHuizen;
  • In the organization category, Christian Care;
  • In the youth category, Anna Darrow;
  • For “Honorary Rock Island Citizen of the Year,” The Arc of the Quad Cities;
  • For “Committee’s Choice,” Friends of Douglas Park.

The awards will be presented Aug. 26 at the Rock Island City Council meeting. The overall winner — who will be the grand marshal of the Labor Day Parade — will also be announced then.

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