Main Street streetscape: new beginnings for Roscoe


Roscoe's Main Street redevelopment plan includes landscaping, parking, and a pedestrian bridge.

In 2021, the Roscoe Village board voted to invest in the engineering and design for a complete reconstruction of Main Street, from McDonald Road north to Elevator Road, with the intent of bringing back the true small-town atmosphere.

The Roscoe Village Board voted in favor of moving forward with preliminary reconstruction plans at the June 2023 Village meeting.

Seth Gronewold, representing Fehr Graham Engineering, presented early concept plans [PDF] to the village board at the July 5 meeting. Gronewold said the goal is to improve pedestrian accessibility in downtown Roscoe and draw businesses and families to the area.

The Village of Roscoe was settled in 1835. It became a sleepy little northern Illinois town, a suburb of Rockford, Illinois.

The little village was a main stop on the inter-urban railway through Rockford, Beloit and Janesville.

Roscoe was incorporated as a village in 1965. It has grown steadily since that time. As of July 2022, the population was 10,874.

With growth comes progress. Road upkeep, infrastructure, new businesses, and educational facilities are all components that bring businesses and families to Roscoe.

In 1982, the State of Illinois constructed Illinois Route 251. The road ran right through Roscoe, eliminating Main Street as the primary corridor through the village.

“We now have the opportunity to revamp the downtown streetscape,” Village Administrator Scott Sanders said. “Early plans have been completed by Fehr Graham Engineering and environment for the reconstruction.

“Improvements to infrastructure will come first, with significant aesthetic components to compliment the improved traffic safety and efficiency. The entire project will probably take up to five years to complete.”

The village has applied for funding from several sources, including congressional funding through the Federal transportation bill and direct funding requests for Senate appropriations from Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth’ offices, and an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant (ITEP).

The total estimated project cost is $3,586.675. “The grant will cover 80% of the cost. The village’s portion would be $717,335,” said Sanders.

The village has also applied for an Open Space Acquisition and Development grant (OSLAD) to develop and improve Porter Park at the far end of McDonald Road. A dog park, sewer connection, landscaping, and a volleyball court are among the plans. A second OSLAD application request is for a splash pad at Leland Park, water service extensions, and sanitary sewage drainage connections.

If the OSLAD grants are approved, they will follows completion of the ITEP infrastructure grant. “Our goal is to be shovel-ready. It will take six to eight months before grant selections are approved. We can’t start work until we get the grants,” Sanders said.

The first phase of reconstruction will begin at the southern end of Main Street, from McDonald. Once the project is funded, it could possibly be completed in six to nine months.

The second phase will be from Bridge Street to Williams Drive. The final phase is Williams Drive to Elevator Road.

Plans are to install curbs and gutters and change parking on Main Street from diagonal to parallel, which is safer and more efficient, and to widen major intersections like Broad Street and Main Street.

A walking bridge over Kinnikinnick Creek will be constructed right next to the existing bridge over River Street. The recreational bike paths and sidewalks will be widened and expanded.

The walking path will be 10 feet wide throughout the village. “We hope to create a continuous safe multiple-use path on the east side of Main Street,” Sanders said.

Rebuilding roads and getting rid of overhead utility poles is a necessary and expensive priority. “Just the underground utilities alone will cost three to four million,” Sanders said.

Second phase plans are to expand Porter Park and refurbish the log cabin.

Other improvements will be installing off-Main Street parking lots to ease traffic congestion, widening and re-engineering intersections, construction of a dog park, and installing a splash fountain at Leland Park. The proposed pedestrian bridge must be approved by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The recreational bike path and sidewalks will be widened and expanded.

The third phase is a beautification plan: new lights, benches, bike racks and landscaping. The target is to create functional and visual enhancement and make the village an attractive location for families and businesses.

Gronewold said the Village is fortunate to have Scott Sanders. “He is a talented landscape architect.”

“The study is for cost estimates and design- that’s all,” Gronewold emphasized.

“We are hoping the project will have the support and assistance of the Roscoe community,” Sanders said.

More News from Roscoe
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified