ROSCOE—As the Village of Roscoe continues to add to its commercial offerings, the Rockton/Willowbrook roads areahas been a spotlight for development.
The latest addition, on the northeast corner of Willowbrook Road, is Thorntons travel center which opened for business in the fall of 2019.
Roscoe Village Administrator Scott Sanders said Thorntons not only gives travelers another option off of Interstate 90, it also will help the village fill revenue coffers, especially through sales taxes.
And where there is the beginning of development, often there is the catalyst for more.
“What’s important to us is to see activity in that area,” Sanders said. “That will spur more development.”
The wheels were put in motion to develop the land in the region for various reasons. One was that changes were coming about from land owners. Also, the village and Winnebago County came together to form a plan for action.
“In part there was a generational turnover of land,” Sanders said. That made land more available.
The village and the county also approved installing utilities such as sewer and water lines to the area in about 2015, he said.
“That opened the door to development,” he said.
Several projects have evolved over the years, with Love’s Truck Stop and All World Machining Supply, Inc. among the first. Those were followed by Camping World and the Speedway gas station at the southwest corner of Rockton Road and Willowbrook.
Thorntons was developed when two parcels were combined for about a 10 acre-plus site, on the northeast side on Willowbrook, Sanders said.
Thorntons offers a regular gas station and it is also a truck stop/travel plaza. For truck drivers there are spaces to park their vehicles overnight and shower facilities inside the store. There is also a full-service Wendy’s restaurant contained in the building as well as a convenience store.
The site was about a $5-$6 million development.
“We really welcome their acknowledgement of the land and location,” Sanders said of the businesses that have come so far. “That further leads to more development.”
Sanders is especially mindful of the sales tax that will be generated from the businesses in the corridor.
“These are the types of businesses where we really capitalize on that.”
Tax revenue will come from people outside of Roscoe as well as residents. And those monies will help benefit the area with such projects as improvements to local roads, he said.
And in the future?
Sanders said it’s not hard to imagine that lodging might not be far behind. As travelers often look for sites that offer gas, food and lodging.
“When you see lots of options, people are more likely to stop at exits,” he said.