Greater Rockton Centre renovations discussed at Rockton Township meeting


Greater Rockton Centre, undated photo,

Rockton Township officials brought up several  subjects at their Jan. 12 meeting, but one of the most active discussions focused on improvements at the Greater Rockton Community Center (GRC), 302 W. Main Street. 

Township Supervisor Paul Williams reported, “Larson and Larson put posts in the outdoor overhang. We are trying to get landscaping done outside of the building.”

Trustee Connie Gleasman suggested that the board get estimates from at least two landscapers.

“Plans are to remove all of the trees and to replace those with trees that are lower to the ground,” Williams said. “We don't want anything in the lines. Local landscaping will be put in the budget.”

"If we stay with the same roof line, the fire code says that we need to have a footing," Gleasman said. 

Trustee Gene Hermann agreed with Gleasman. “If we are supporting to the ground, it needs to be on a footing and anchored to concrete," Hermann said.

Williams replied, "An 8x8 post will be anchored to a concrete slab."

Hermann asked, “Where will the money for this project come from going forward and how much will we have to allocate in the budget?”

Future plans inside the GRC include adding new ADA-compliant bathrooms. "We will need a time frame, but this might not happen until the following year," Williams said. Williams shared the idea of possibly converting one of the existing rooms to a lounge area where brides can get ready.

Hermann asked, “What is the goal for the center?"

"The biggest thing is to finish the outside and the stairway to the kitchen," Williams said. He brought up the idea of moving the stairway toward the parking lot along with pouring a new pad for it to sit on.

“Before anyone leases the building,  we need to make sure it has a fire exit to cover the liability aspect,” Gleasman said. Two exit doors are generally required to meet fire codes. Once a year, a fire inspection is done.

“The plumbing could create issues and become expensive,” Hermann added.

Williams replied, “The YMCA uses the facility.” The Stateline YMCA website lists the GRC as the location for the Camp Wockigo and Camp BeRo day camps.

Township Clerk Kristi Schaffer praised the YMCA program. “When the GRC is rented, it helps the entire downtown community, “she said.

"If we are going to spend $200,000, what are we getting back on our investment?" Cemetery Sexton Chris Doering asked.

Hermann said, “We are trying to enhance the building for weddings and receptions, which bring in revenue.” 

"If our tax payers are using it and are satisfied, that is our revenue," Trustee Vicky Ivy said.

“Let's try to establish something,” Hermann said.

"We will never get our money back for what we are putting into the GRC," Williams said.

An example was given of a venue in Roscoe that was renovated who had a map including details of the project.

"The plan is to build a better, nicer community space," Doering said. 

Hermann addressed Williams. “It should start here. You have put a lot of time into it.”

“We need to have a usage plan to service our community more effectively, and we need to have hard numbers to budget this. Then we can have something to move forward with,” Gleasman said.

Trustee Randy Johnson suggested that if the Township ever decides the Center is beyond their means, they should offer it to the Village of Rockton.

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