Rockford city leaders vote to allow a piece of property to remain in the hands of a local developer despite that developer not living up to it’s end of a deal. City officials say keeping it out of city hands is the best bet to build up North Main Street.
“Finding a way for the city to kind of take a step back.” said the Chair of Planning and Development Committee Bill Rose.
The Planning and Development Committee passed an amendment to do just that on a 2004 agreement between the city and Rockford Local Development Corporation. In 2004, RLDC agreed to develop the area on North Main Street and Eddy Avenue by putting in housing, a medical office, and commercial spaces, but they weren’t able to complete their end of the deal.
“The economy kind of tanked and some of the plans didn’t end up happening.” said 12th ward Alderman John Beck. “There’s some residential condos on there. There’s a clinic and a restaurant, but there’s still some open property that will hopefully get developed at some point.”
The approved amendment will allow the lot to stay in RLDC’S hands and will keep the vacant plots from returning to the hands of the city, adding it to it’s already long list of under developed properties. Committee chair Bill Rose says the move is in everyone’s best interest.
“The city does own a lot of property and the ones we can get out to private enterprises, I think our city staff does a really good job about identifying those properties.” said Rose.
12th ward Alderman John Beck said while there are no set plans by the developers, as of now, he knows one establishment he and other North Main neighborhood residents want and need.
“We want a Whole Foods. Everybody wants a Whole Foods.” said Beck. “As long as it’s just a competitive, reputable grocery store. I mean, i don’t care if it’s locally owned, like a Gray’s IGA, or if it’s a chain. As long as it’s a quality store we’ll be welcomed to have it.”
The amendment will go to full council for a vote next Monday. Eyewitness News did reach out to Rockford Local Development Corporation to see what plans they may have in store, but did not hear back.