By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — Crusader Community Health plans to purchase and demolish a vacant and blighted building near the busiest of its eight clinics.
The nonprofit health care provider is under contract to purchase 1320 Seventh St., which is adjacent to its Broadway clinic and across the street from Rock House Kids, in an effort to remove an eyesore from a neighborhood it serves.
The land would initially be left as open green space, but it could one day be paved to provide additional parking for patients at its clinic at 1100 Broadway.
“The Broadway corridor is home to our busiest clinic,” Sam Miller, president and CEO of Crusader Community Health, said in an email to the Rock River Current. “We want to be good neighbors and take advantage of opportunities to both improve the neighborhood by eliminating blight and consider options for parking as we continue to grow.”
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Crusader had previously purchased and demolished a blighted residential structure next to the building, according to a memo to aldermen from Karl Franzen, the city’s director of community and economic development. Its latest project is expected to cost at least $140,000, and the city agreed to help by providing $75,000 in tax-increment finance district money from the Broadway TIF, according to city documents.
Aldermen voted 11-0 on Monday to approve providing the TIF funding. Such districts capture increases in property taxes that come from property improvements into a special fund that can be used for certain redevelopment purposes.
The city says the demolition will help improve the overall neighborhood.
“The use of TIF for this project will have a positive impact on the TIF and Redevelopment Area by demolishing a building that is obsolete, dilapidated, deteriorated and below code requirements in favor of allowing future expansion of a significant not for profit health care provider,” the city’s redevelopment agreement reads. “The project enhances the streetscape and improves the economic base of the overall redevelopment area with the goal of encouraging others to invest in the area.”
It’s unclear right now when demolition will move forward.
This article is by Kevin Haas. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @KevinMHaas.