In January 2004, city leaders asked planners to provide new ideas on how to make the Main-Auburn Street intersection more equipped for business growth, but the planners found out that any development changes would likely have to be made with road changes.
City planners have five alternatives to make the southeast section of the Main-Auburn intersection stronger for business. Two of the ideas discussed would be widening Auburn with three through lanes or converting the intersection into a circular traffic flow, a roundabout.
The new projects wouldn't come without cost. The widening proposal would likely take out 16 buildings to make room, with the roundabout proposed to take out six buildings.
City planners say the intersection changes would help bring in business and ease the traffic flow.
"It's this district because the common concern is that they're losing business, investment in this area is declining, it's the business environment," Teska Associates president, Lee Brown said.
For the 100 residents at Wednesday night’s meeting, opinion was split almost evenly for the road proposals. Some thought the roundabout would take away from the neighborhood's intimacy, while others felt modernizing the intersection would bring more people and business to the area.
"Any solution they're putting forward is going to take a lot of buildings out and radically change the nature of that intersection," resident Scott Richert said.
"I think there should be more people enjoying this end of Rockford. With this roundabout we could handle the traffic and more people would be willing to travel to this side of town to see something unique," resident Paul Marek said.
The planners in charge of the Main-Auburn Street business district say they'll make a final recommendation to the city in three months. Until then, they plan on having one or two more public sessions.