ROCKFORD - City officials have reached a settlement agreement with the owner of the former Atwood building to complete the $271,000 demolition and site cleanup after the structure burned down.
The building at 2500 N. Main St. was destroyed by fire Oct. 24, 2020. Although demolition had begun, progress came to a halt when a dispute erupted between the owner and the insurance company.
City officials filed lawsuits to force the owner and the insurance company to complete the demolition and site clean-up in what Mayor Tom McNamara said was an aggressive stand to protect taxpayers and eliminate blight.
"No tax dollars are a part of this," McNamara said during a media briefing last week. "This is part of our longstanding effort to reduce blight in the city. Obviously this one comes in a different form, but it is absolutely a high priority. Fighting blight is not an easy task and often it takes far longer than any of us would like."
The work is scheduled to begin April 18, but site preparation may have already begun, McNamara said.
An original portion of the building was constructed in 1925 by brothers James and Seth B. Atwood. Additional buildings were constructed over the ensuing years, growing the property into an estimated 300,000-square-foot facility where auto parts were manufactured.
Ald. Gina Meeks, D-12, said she fielded calls from residents concerned about the eyesore in the neighborhood.
"A lot of our businesses have been affected by the blight in the area," Meeks said. "Because as we are driving down this very popular street, this is the first thing you see."