Greater Rockton Centre: Township brainstorms ideas on future improvements


In the past few months the Rockton Township has placed a focus on improvements at the Greater Rockton Community Center (GRC), 302 W. Main Street.

At the February meeting, trustees reviewed two detailed bids for
landscaping. After a brief discussion, Trustee Connie Gleasman said, “I would like to see us get another estimate from Tyler Nursery."

All agreed to get a third estimate and Township Supervisor Paul Williams said that next month they will bring that bid to the table. Williams talked about building codes and said they might have to put in a sprinkler system. "In order to have a proper fire escape, we would need to add a hallway," Williams said. "If a sprinkler system needs to be put in, it could be a huge expense."

The trustees had a conversation about possibly removing the stove and having the kitchen reconfigured. “If there would be no stoves, we should put a wall up," Gleasman said.

Deputy Clerk Kristi Schaeffer suggested that an architect come in and that a five year plan be developed.

Williams informed everyone that Larson and Darby are the architects the Township is already working with.

"The GRC is in the center of our community; an investment in the center is an investment in our community," Williams said. "The village has purchased the property where Sonoco was and they might be looking at building a hotel on the property. We could have more of a presence then."

Trustee Gene Hermann asked about the possibility of obtaining a grant to help with improvements. Someone said that because there is no historical value on the center building, the Township might not qualify for a grant.

Williams said, “We need to look into ways that we can make the outside look more appealing."

Ideas were brainstormed about possibly adding plantings or flowers on the grounds - color to accentuate beauty in all four seasons.

Gleasman suggested that maybe the Township contact the art department at Hononegah High School or a sculptor. "This is a great way to involve the community," Gleasman said.

The Greater Rockton Centre has a history dating back to the 1970’s when the American Legion first sold the community center in order to build and expand to a new building across the street on the corner. A group of Rockton residents banded together to fill the need for a non-profit center to serve as a meeting place for local residents and groups. The people on the governing board served without pay. The mortgage was paid by having a weekly roast beef dinner and if funds were insufficient, several of those members took turns paying the mortgage.

As time went on, it became harder to get people to volunteer and the board agreed to turn the facility over to the Township with specific conditions.

Over the years, the center has been used for weddings, reunions, receptions, graduation parties, funeral dinners and community events such as Easter egg hunts, Halloween events, Meet the Candidates nights and the first ever non-profit night. Several groups and organizations utilize the Greater Rockton Centre year round such as boy and girl scout troops, Hononegah High School and the Stateline YMCA- Camp BeRo. In past years, Rockton Shared Vision Project and the former Rockton Chamber of Commerce frequently used the center for meetings.

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified