By Jim Hagerty
An ordinance prohibiting a seller from dictating what a buyer does with a commercial building once it’s sold passed the city’s Codes and Regulations Committee Monday, Nov. 3.
The proposal was sparked by a neighborhood group that’s attempting to lure another grocery chain to the now-vacant Schnucks store at 715 Rural St. While it hasn’t been confirmed, neighbors fear Schnucks has placed a non-compete clause on the property, which would prevent a competitor from occupying it as a supermarket. The ordinance would make such deed restrictions illegal.
The Facebook group, “Save our Schnucks” formed earlier this year, when Schnucks shuttered the building, which served the Rural Oaks area as a grocery store for 57 years. Members say another merchant—a local merchant or chain—should have the right to fill the void created when the St. Louis-based chain decided the store was underutilized. The store was a longtime part of the local Hilander chain until 1998, when Kroger acquired Hilander Foods. Kroger sold the Hilander stores to rival Schnucks in 2011.
The ordinance was introduced to the city by Ald. Jamie Getchius, R-2. It will be up for a full council vote next week.
In other business, dozens of Head Start workers and supporters protested outside City Hall Monday, asking city leaders for their first pay raise in seven years. Head Start is a federally funded program overseen by Rockford’s Department of Human Services. Starting pay for Rockford Head Start teachers $19.48 an hour. According to glassdoor.com, the national hourly pay rate is $16.28. Rockford Head Start teachers have been working without a contract since 2011.