City of Rockford Continues Blight Battle on North Main Corridor


From the Essex property to the old North Main Street nursing home, Rockford blight has gotten a lot of attention recently.  The City has been taking action, as quickly as the law allows.  Demolition on this property could take about a month, because of it’s condition, it could be costly. However, city leaders are doing what they can manage the blight.

“Due to the state of the building after the fire and its location. it’s proximity to a park along North Main. It’s going to have to come down,” said CIty of Rockford Director of Community and Economic Development Karl Franzen about the old nursing home on North Main Street, destroyed by fire.  Now, a fence warning everyone to keep off the property surrounds it.  “We’re conducting asbestos testing and receiving bids for demolition,” said Franzen.

He adds it’s too early for the city to know how much the demolition will cost, but the money will come from taxpayer dollars.  The city will then take legal action against the building’s owner, North Main Properties, which is based out of Skokie.  “We have communication with these individuals and they certainly could come in a demolish it themselves, but that doesn’t seem likely at this point,” said Franzen.

This former nursing home has been vacant since 2011.  Since then, the city’s fined North Main properties for code violations.  It’s a similar battle, Franzen says, the city fighting with the owner of the Essex building, a vacant, half-demolished property just a half mile away on North Main.  “We will pursue them,” said Franzen.  “Every case is different, when we go after problem properties like this and you see a different approach with Midway, Essex or this one our legal team is going to take every avenue we can to make sure the taxpayers are made as whole as possible.”

Franzen adds a vacant property registry  will be discussed at the next committee city council meeting. It’ll essentially be a blight-mediating step to keep track of properties going through the foreclosure process.

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