Mark Saliterman is looking forward to opening an indoor self-storage business in the Westrock Shopping Center at 8900 Walnut Street in Rockford.

To make possible this use of the property, Saliterman, who is chief managing partner for Westrock, asked the Rockford City Council for an amendment to the planned unit development for the shopping center. The Rockford City Council, Tuesday, March 23, approved his request.

At the meeting, the city council also took up other business. Here are meeting highlights.

WESTROCK SHOPPING CENTER

Saliterman said he hopes to open his indoor storage business in roughly two months, if he can get enough metal for the project. However, a metal shortage might delay the opening until as late as 2022.

He devised his plan for indoor self-storage after attempting for a few years to lease a large vacant indoor space at Westrock. In a letter to the Rockford Planning Commission, he said, “With COVID-19 and the Internet, especially Amazon’s presence, it is difficult for any substantial retailer to start or expand in a new location. Many retailers are downsizing or going out of business.”

Plans for the Westrock project show small retail shops near the windows in the front of the space and climate controlled indoor self-storage units along corridors in the rear.

If a larger retailer comes in, the cost to remove metal dividers from the storage units is low. “Perhaps, as the population of Rockford increases, a grocery store might have an interest, or possibly a tenant in the medical field,” Saliterman said.

2022 STREET IMPROVEMENTS

Turning to the subject of 2022 street and utility improvement project, the city council looked at a proposal for investigating the condition of the pavement and underlying soils and for televising the interior of sewer mains in the project area. The goal is to give the city and prospective contractors an idea of conditions they would encounter during construction and resulting costs.

The council accepted the $6,460 base quote of Element Materials Technology, of St. Paul, for collecting core samples of pavement and soils in the project area. Also, the council accepted the $14,260 base quote of Hydro-Klean LLC for televising the interior of utility mains to locate damage from root growth and cracks. The video will enable staff to determine which lateral surfaces need to be lined.

The televising and soil boring investigations are part of a feasibility study for the 2022 street and utility project. Stantec, Rockford’s consulting engineers, is conducting the study.

Proposed areas for improvements include reclamation of Maple Street from Linden Street to Nathan Boulevard and Boulder Ridge Drive from Walnut Street to the trail entrance. Sanitary sewer and water mains and select storm sewers would be improved on Maple Street, Walnut Street, Haug Avenue, Electric Drive, Walnut Place, Tower Street, High Street and Ash Street.

Crews would mill away the top layer of asphalt on the rest of the streets in the proposed project area and apply an asphalt overlay. The streets would include River Oaks Road, Autumn Oaks Drive, Acorn Circle, Red Oak Drive, Walnut Street from Main Street to Electric Drive, Haug Avenue, Electric Drive, Walnut Place, Tower Street, High Street and Maple Street between Highway 55 and Walnut Street.

BOARD OF ADJUSTMENTS AND APPEALS

In his staff report, City Administrator Dan Madsen said Rockford’s local Board of Adjustments and Appeals will meet at 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 13, in the city council chambers. At the meeting, Rockford property owners can begin the official process of questioning market values for their properties. Property taxes payable in 2022 will be based upon market values.

Prior to the meeting, property owners with questions should call the assessor’s office of the county in which they live. If they still have questions, they should go to the April 13 meeting and tell the assessors and the city council why they think their properties have been valued or classified incorrectly.

OTHER

The city council also:

APPROVED two additional lieutenant positions for the Rockford Fire Department.

WENT into closed session to discuss an offer/ counter offer from Tailwind Growth LLC for the former lumberyard site that is currently under city ownership.

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