Rosecrance battle continues; Council to vote next week
By Scott P. Richert
By Scott P. Richert
Armed with more than 1,000 signatures, more than 20 neighbors of Rosecrance Health Networks proposed residential recovery home for adolescent girls at 2415 E. State St., rallied for their cause at the Rockford City Council meeting on Monday, Dec. 3.
During the petitions and communications portion of the meeting, Ald. Frank Beach, a supporter of Rosecrance, entered the petitions into the record.
Craig Mentzer, the vice president of the Highland Neighborhood Association and the leader of the petitioners, said that approximately 80 percent of the signatures were obtained from a six-block area around the proposed home. Most of the rest are from Haight Village and Churchills Grove, two neighborhoods where residents are very concerned about historic preservation. (Churchills Grove is also very close to Rosecrances group home at 1108 N. Main Street.)
In conversation with neighborhood residents at the council meeting, Alderman Beach revealed that two other commercial ventures have approached the city regarding 2415 E. State. He argued that it is very unlikely that anyone will purchase the home as a private residence, claiming that it needs $200,000 in repairs. Andy Kwiatkowski, a neighbor who had toured the home while it was up for sale, disputed that figure. While it may cost that much for Rosecrance to refit it for their purposes, he claimed that the home is in immaculate shape. Alderman Beach admitted that the estimate had come from Rosecrance. (Calls to Rosecrance for comment were not returned.)
Under the Rosecrance proposal, the house would continue to be zoned residential, and Alderman Beach vowed not to support any changes to Rosecrances current plan, including increasing the number of residents from the proposed 12 or making any modifications to the interior of the home other than those required by the building and fire codes. (The fire code requires the installation of an automatic sprinkler system and lighted exit signs throughout the house, which opponents argued would dramatically decrease the likelihood that the home will ever be returned to residential use.)
The Zoning Board of Appeals approved Rosecrances request for a special-use permit on Nov. 20. The City Councils Codes and Regulations Committee report recommending approval was laid over at the Dec. 3 meeting. The full council will vote on the proposal on Dec. 10.
Scott P. Richert is the executive editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, the publication of The Rockford Institute.