Freeport Development

By: Rebekah Baum
By: Rebekah Baum

It's one of the first major negotiations of Freeport Mayor George Gaulrapp's administration. According to engineering plans, 60 acres of land on Route 26 and Fairgrounds Road would be developed to welcome a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter and Menards Super Store.

"A good place for that, a good place to spur more retail down there, so it would work out good for Freeport," says Mayor Gaulrapp.

In addition to the two anchor stores, six outlets would be available for other retailers. Mayor Gaulrapp says around 450 jobs would be created.

The $66 million project, proposed by Rockford-Based Rubloff Development, was supposed to be discussed during Thursday's planning commission meeting. The land would need to be rezoned from manufacturing to retail.

"We're taking it off the agenda and going to continue to a later date. Neither us, nor the developer, have a good feeling about the members that are currently in the redevelopment agreement, so we want to continue to negotiate in good faith and make sure that we get to that point so we can proceed further," says Gaulrapp.

The proposed land is located within a tif district. "The tif, a portion will be used for redevelopment costs, the rest is what the city is looking for, the additional sales tax to come out of that. We've made some projections, about $900,000, so it would be a lot of money for Freeport, helps us with other ventures," says Gaulrapp.

Road improvements would also be included in the redevelopment agreement, expected to cost between 3 and 5 and half million dollars.

Mayor Gaulrapp says the current Wal-Mart would be vacated, but he says developers are already looking at the property.

Neither Wal-Mart nor Menards have made any official statements about the property. The proposed Wal-Mart will be around 200,000 square feet. The Menards, around 165,000.


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