ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Some local businesses have to look for a new home, as buildings on Charles Street are being torn down by the City of Rockford.
The properties are in part of the Keith Creek floodplain, which floods frequently. The city’s plan includes funding to help the businesses relocate.
“At this point, now it’s on our responsibility to work with the tenants to relocate them to alternate location so we can demolish the building,” said Brad Holcomb, stormwater manager for the City of Rockford.
The strip mall at 18th and Charles Streets, which includes Slots of Fun, Drewelow’s House of Books, Shear Magic Hair Studio and Charles Street Shoe Repair, will be demolished as part of a flood mitigation project.
“As we all know, Keith Creek floods a lot, and the property owner expressed an interest in a buyout,” Holcomb said. “We applied for funding through Illinois DNR to receive a grant to purchase the property.”
Talks of a buyout started about three years ago. The grant was approved last year.
“Long term goal here is obviously, when we demolish the building, it’ll be planted to grass for the time being,” Holcomb said. “We are working with a consultant to come up with a long-term plan as far as flood mitigation to that area, that property would be, will be part of the flood mitigation project.”
The grant money will fund the purchase of the property and demolition costs. The City will cover the rest.
“We are paying the relocation costs, even if it’s a case where there’s a difference in the rent might be more expensive, we are bridging that gap for the first 18 months, where we’ll pay the difference in the rent so they aren’t adversely affected,” Holcomb said. “If there’s a building remodel involved, we’ll take care of that as well, so we’re covering everything.”
The City intends to demolish the building sometime this year.