By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD – Rockford aldermen, on Monday, approved a special use permit that gives Grace Funeral & Cremation Services the green light to move to the former Moose Club, 4301 N. Main St.
The business is currently at 1340 S. Alpine Road, property Kristan and Robert McNames say they’ve outgrown. Their new space will have 19,000 square feet and allow them to accommodate more non-traditional funerals, end-of-life celebrations and catered events.
The new plans were met with an objection by Ald. Venita Hervey, D-5, who said she is concerned that such business plans often come with liquor license applications, somethings she says are becoming excessive.
“I have been to funerals, I plan to have one,” Hervey said. “It’s going to be a blow-out party, not long faces and tears. At the same time, I am going to go back to the concern I have about the proliferation of liquor.”
Kristan McNames said Grace has no intention of applying for a permit to sell liquor. She said her plans are only to serve the increasing number of families who opt for non-religious funerals.
“We’ll have the capacity to host small intimate events, along with larger funeral and celebration-of-life services,” she said. “We’ll also be able to bring our crematory operations for both humans and pets under the umbrella of our current business. “We’ve served our community for the last nine years out of our location at Colonial Village and look forward to the future as we relocate to the old Moose lodge.”
The move will cost approximately $1 million.
In other business, aldermen laid over a vote on the proposal by Mather’s Clinic to open a second methadone clinic in Rockford. The proposal to turn 5416 E. State St. into a methadone treatment facility was rejected by the Code & Regulation Committee last week. The Zoning Board of Appeals had previously recommended approval. A supermajority vote by the city council is required to overturn the ZBA’s recommendation.
Ald. Frank Beach R-10, told The Times last week that he is not necessarily against a second clinic in Rockford, but does not want to see one just blocks from Remedies Renewing Lives, which already offers methadone treatment. Beach also said he has talked to developers about the building and that retail is better use of the property. The building is the former location of Circuit City, which closed in 2009. R.