By Jim Hagerty
Rockford aldermen approved zoning for a new Save-A-Lot store at the corner of West State Street and Central Avenue Monday, something supporters say will serve what has been called a food desert on the city’s west side.
The vote will allow non-profit developer IFF to begin building the 15,000 square-foot store with hopes of opening it next year.
The project is expected to cost $3 million and will be financed mostly through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The city would also contribute $500,000 in TIF funds.
Just as she did a month ago when the project was proposed to the council, Ald. Linda McNeely, D-13, voted against the zoning. She wants the city to bring a large chain grocer to the west side instead of the small, discount Save-A-Lot. The vote was 11-1.
The council also approved an agreement with the State of Illinois to turn a downtown stretch of South Main Street into a two-way road. The conversion would close Wyman Street from South Main to Chestnut Street. Traffic along those roads will be diverted to South Main. The $2 million project must now be cleared by state officials because the street is part of Illinois Route 2.
The South Main project will complement the upcoming Amerock building (Ziock) hotel along the river and new Amtrak station near Cedar street, across from Davis Park. The city also plans to build a parking garage along South Main Street, just south of the Amerock building.