ROCKTON — Rockton Road may soon be home to new signage as automotive parts dealer AutoZone comes to town.
The company hopes to locate a store near the corner of Rockton Road and Glengary Drive, just to the west of Farm and Fleet.
“We received the formal request from AutoZone two weeks ago and the plans will probably go to design review in November,” said Village President Dale Adams.
Groundbreaking at the location could take place before the end of the year so that construction work could be possibly completed by late spring or early summer.
Adams said the addition of AutoZone along Rockton Road is another sign of the unusual, but positive trend of growth for the Village of Rockton.
“In this economy there are very few places that are growing,” he said. “This will bring in jobs, additional tax revenue and visitors to Rockton.”
The increased amount of traffic will encourage more retailers to want to have storefronts near Highway 251, Adams says, thus promoting retail in the village as a whole.
“We aren’t losing sight of our downtown area, even with all of the growth out on Rockton Road,” Adams stressed. “We still want to promote our historic downtown ... having more stores along Highway 251 will just help draw people in.”
Just down the street from the property Autozone is interested in, construction is finishing up at the Casey’s General Store gas station.
“They should be ready to open next week,” Adams said, noting that the construction process went smoothly between the builders and village each step of the way.
Additional growth also may soon come to the area surrounding the Casey’s General Store. First Rockford Group has expressed interest in several commercial land parcels to purchase.
Adams said First Rockford Group has discussed several different ideas for the commercial property if the land is annexed, but no plans have yet been solidified.
The Village of Rockton Board of Trustees discussed the possible annexation of the property briefly during its Tuesday night meeting. Representatives of First Rockford Group, however, were not in attendance.
Local business owner Don Ganrude of R & L Auto Body, located at 4722 E. Rockton Road, Roscoe, addressed the board and spoke against the proposed annexation prior to the board’s decision to table the issue.
“I have some issues as far as what’s going to happen with us businesses that are already there,” he said. “What’s going to happen to us and who is going to pick up our moving expenses?”
Ganrude said his five employees, all of whom have families, have been asking on a nearly daily basis whether they will continue to work at the location, which is rented.
“All I can say to them is that I don’t know the answers and I feel like I’m just getting thrown out on the back burner,” Ganrude said. “I’m all for growth, but we don’t know what to do.”
While growth is booming on the north side of Rockton Road, directly to the south, retail buildings located in front of Walmart have struggled to find tenants.
“Each of those buildings is 10,000 square feet and in one building there is a Verizon Store and a Weight Watchers,” Adams said.
The village hopes to encourage growth in those two buildings by approving the construction of a right in, right out lane to grant improved access to the store fronts.
The right in, right out is to be built so that traffic going east toward Highway 251 will be able to drive directly on and off of Rockton Road.
There will also be a short lane built to help cars merge into eastbound traffic.