By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
LOVES PARK — A building that has sat vacant for years at the corner of North Second Street and Grand Avenue could be home to a new business and have a new, vibrant look under a local couple’s vision to redevelop the property.
Boundless Homes LLC, operated by Markus and Rose Smith of Roscoe, plans to renovate the former Tussing’s Tile & Floor, 5545 N. Second St., inside and out to attract a new tenant. The company expects to close on the purchase of the property later this month.
“The whole intent is to revitalize the area. I want to do my part,” said Markus Smith, who also overhauled the property next door before moving his State Farm Insurance agency there more than two years ago.
The blank white wall on the building’s south side would make an ideal brick canvas for the city’s next mural, Smith said. Much like the mural at CD Source about two blocks north, the former Tussing’s has prime visibility for motorists moving north on Second Street.
The CD Source mural, part of the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s CRE8IV: Transformational Art project, was completed by artist Brett Whitacre in early September. Smith has already expressed interest with the city in having a mural painted on the former Tussing’s building.
“That whole wall is just begging for a mural,” he said.
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Boundless Homes has had strong interest from a potential tenant for the property, Smith said, but he does not want to name it until the agreement is finalized.
“It will be a nice draw for the area if it happens,” Smith said.
This week, the Loves Park City Council unanimously approved a redevelopment agreement to support improvements to the property, one of two such deals aldermen OK’d Monday. The deal provides reimbursement of 50% of the costs of the fixes and 30% of the difference between the purchase price and assessed value of the property next year. The maximum reimbursement is $42,000, per the agreement.
Smith, who is also a board member of the Parks Chamber of Commerce, said the improvements can help reclaim some of the “untapped potential” of the North Second Street corridor.
“My intent is to be more involved in bringing the area to its former glory,” he said.