But the second time around there was a totally different outcome. Tuesday night the Rockford Zoning Board of Appeals took another look at building a Family Dollar store on North Main. The decision was a unanimous “yes.” But many left Tuesday night’s meeting scratching their heads even developer Oliver Emerson. It's still not clear what or who changed the ZBA’s mind. A few months ago the ZBA voted against a Family Dollar store on North Main near Fulton. Residents argued that it's not the upscale business they hoped would move in. Emerson says he picked the location because it's in a TIF district. But the city still hasn't guaranteed that money. Alderman Doug Mark and Alderman John Beck were both against the development. Alderman Mark stated, “To me it was about the level of retail we currently have and the opportunity we're looking for to improve and enhance and expand some retail. Plain and simple that was the debate and that's what I'll stand by. "
What is still up for debate is whether or not Emerson will get the TIF money from the city. Developer Oliver Emerson stated after the meeting, “I'm confident that the TIF will pass. I've done TIF's. TIF’s are created to spur growth."
This isn't a done deal. The issue will work its way through Rockford city council. If the TIF money does not come through Emerson says he's going to sell the land. The Family Dollar store is expected to bring in $2.5 million in sales. This one store would employ about 15 people. The chain plans on bringing 5 more stores to the area.