Few cars still move across the Clock Tower resort’s parking lot. It’s a far cry from how it used to be. Over the years the resort has gone from a bustling tourist favorite, to an afterthought. “For many citizens, it’s probably bitter sweet to hear this news,” said Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO John Groh.
In October a man was murdered inside the resort and days later the city cited the resort for health, safety, and security violations. Last year, the once popular Coco Key Resort was forced to shut down due to health concerns. “It’s no secret that as a property they have had challenges,” Groh added. Groh is disappointed that the Rockford landmark has deteriorated to where it is, but said the closing of the hotel is a positive step forward.
“It’s a good sign that the property owner is wanting to take time out and seriously consider options for renovating the hotel,” he said. Eyewitness News reached out to the owner, he refused to go on camera, but stated that the resort is closing because it is not making enough money. Groh suggested that the hotel partner up with a national hotel chain. “Those brand affiliations are really best practice, great housekeeping seals of approval for massive large properties like that,” he added.
There are several businesses that call the resort home, like ‘Totally You Hair Salon’. Despite what has happened around them, owner Karla Peterson said she isn’t concerned. “Obviously our clients are going to have a concern, we are sending out a mass email and Facebook post, we just got confirmation that we are able to stay open, all the businesses in this wing are open” Peterson said.
Peterson also added that it is only a matter of time before the Clock Tower reclaims it’s iconic status. “Rockford loves the Clock Tower, someone is going to snatch it up and make it what it used to be, and we’re going to hang in there until the last dying needle falls.”