Vacant lots are not an uncommon sight on North Second St. in Loves Park, and the City Council is determined to change that.
"That's the gateway to Loves Park and that's what they think of when they see us, and quite honestly it could use some sprucing up," says 2nd Ward Ald. John Pruitt.
The city with a heart is planning a major redevelopment project for an this stretch of North Second St. from Windsor Rd. to the city limits. Their goal is simple.
"We have 22,000 people that come through here on a daily basis, and with that, what they're doing it coming through. What we want them to do is stop," says 3rd Ward Ald. Janet Novak.
The city is hoping to attract more businesses and make the downtown area more user-friendly.
"Our vision is to have a downtown where you could actually go to a central parking place and have easy access to a walk to the businesses along North Second St.," Ald. Pruitt says.
Many places along north second street say they've lost the battle for business. Shoppers take their money and their shopping lists to Rte. 173. Those same businesses are optimistic that the redevelopment of this street will bring those shoppers back.
Gray's co-manager Eric Watson says he's tired of seeing shoppers drive right on by.
"Its gonna help us a lot. We need to get some business back in here and stuff and get people moving around a little bit more," Watson says.
Loves Park's city council will be holding a meeting on August 8th to finalize their plans for the downtown redevelopment. Aldermen say some new businesses have already expressed an interest moving in to the area. The plan needs to still go before the entire council. They will have the final say, which should come in September.