Armory make-over?

By: Narina Crain
By: Narina Crain

The future of Rockford's old armory on North Main Street is now in the hands of city leaders. A woman who had hoped to renovate the building decided to donate the armory to Rockford.

"I'm donating it to the people, families and I hope, I'm sure Mayor Morrissey will develop it properly,"Jocelyn Blair Stoller said.

The old armory sits right across the parking lot from the Discovery center. Mayor Morrissey hopes developers can find a use for the armory that would accommodate visitors to Discovery and Burpee museum.

"What might work? A hotel might work, a meeting space, conference space, restaurants and other retail space," Mayor Morrissey said.

Nothing's set in stone. First the city has to find a developer that's willing to take on this project. It could take months or years to renovate and repair the building.

"We went though there three or four months ago and it's not in real good shape. But certainly the space is there, there's opportunity to create some exciting concepts," said Alan Brown, the director of the capital campaign for Burpee and Discovery.

Redevelopment of the armory could happen at the same time as the expansion of Burpee museum and the Discovery center. The projects would provide three more reasons for parents to bring their kids to downtown Rockford.


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