Jail Impact

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

Some business owners near the new jail are worried the project will lock up their profits. Many have been forced to relocate because their business sits on the actual jail site, but they're trying to stay optimistic about the future.

Rosalind Reis has been trying to tell the more than 100 kids at her day care not to be sad about their upcoming move; it'll be just like getting a new home.

"The children have been very concerned about the process," says Reis, executive director of the Rockford Nursery.

The day care's been at Rockton and Elm for more than 80 years, but Tuesday’s groundbreaking on the new jail means now their days are numbered. The nursery will relocate, but Reis expects to lose some customers.

"We've had a few families say it'll be too far for them to go, but for the most part reaction has been positive," says Reis.

Three new classrooms and more staff will be added, so Reis says the change may not be so bad, and that's the way Mike Zak is trying to look at things. His auto repair shop has also been forced to move.

"It has been bittersweet but we're looking forward to the positive side and moving forward," says David Johnson, relocation project manager.

Their new location on Alpine will be nearly double in size, and while they expect to lose some customers, they’re hoping new business will make up for it.

"We'll lose some of our immediate area customers. Many, about 70-percent, will move with us and follow us to our new location," says Johnson.

The cost for both the new auto shop and the new day care is significantly higher than what each received from the county for their old properties, but both say it's a worthwhile investment in their future.

The Rockford Nursery will move to its new location at 2323 S. 6th Street in March of next year. O'Brien's Auto is already preparing for their move in November to a new shop on Alpine.


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