ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Trash in the parking lot and broken windows are problems some in the Rural Oaks neighborhood of Rockford say they are dealing with now that their grocery store shut down. It’s propelled them to keep up the fight to get a new owner for the building.
A group of 50 gathered Saturday morning at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Rockford, along with Ald. Frank Beach, Ald. Jamie Getchius, and Ald. Tom McNamara. The focus was on the options for the space, the building is still on the market for $2.1 million. The group talked about what they don't want there, like another dollar store. They acknowledge, it's going to be tough to get information if this store is sold, but they plan to keep their ears to the ground. Some plan to look more into a co-op with local farmers and grower; there is a co-op in Janesville they’re looking to for inspiration. Concerns remain that option may not be possible since it is food based and there is a strong likelihood that Schnucks would forbid a new buyer from setting up a grocery type store.
“Schnucks is not being a fair player, that’s clear at this point. Everyone in the whole neighborhood is vulnerable economically in some way and this takes everybody down a couple of notches and we ought to have a defense against that,” says neighbor David Stocker.
Several neighbors say this re-energized and motivated them to search for more options beside any empty eyesore. The Rural Oaks Schncuks closed at the end of May. Alderman Jamie Gethcius says after the site has been empty for a year, there are certain tax incentives the city could offer to a buyer to get someone back in that building.