Plans for travel center south of Rock Falls moving forward, but not yet finalized

Multiple government bodies vote to amend Whiteside Carroll Enterprise Zone, send to state for approval

Work is starting soon on repairing the Route 40 bridge south of Rock Falls that crosses over Interstate 88. Motorists traveling in the area should expect delays.

ROCK FALLS — Plans to build a multimillion dollar travel center just south of Rock Falls are taking shape.

In the past few weeks, multiple municipal governments in the Whiteside Carroll Enterprise Zone have approved ordinances asking the state to amend the zone’s boundaries to add an area just south of Rock Falls’ city limits. According to a description of the project plan provided to the Fulton City Council, which on Monday night approved its ordinance requesting the boundary change, the proposed travel station’s location would be 2801 Hoover Road, which is northeast of the state Route 40 and Interstate 88 interchange.

But while the plan is taking shape, it has not been finalized.

“This is an ongoing process,” said Gary Camarano, Whiteside Carroll Enterprise Zone administrator and Whiteside County Economic Development director. Camarano said he was declining further comment at this time.

Enterprise Zone incentives are crucial to the project, which will not proceed if it doesn’t receive them, the plan description states.

The project, if approved, is estimated to cost $18 million, and 55 full-time jobs are expected to be created, the proposed plan reads. Planned amenities for the travel center include gas stations, electric vehicle charging stations, a restaurant, convenience store and short-term overnight parking for long-haul truckers. It would be hooked up to the municipal water and sewer systems.

“With there being no travel centers capable of serving high volume trucks, buses, and cars within a 50-mile radius of the proposed site, this project will be of great benefit to the local economy, travelers, traffic flow, and local businesses,” according to the plan.

The Walmart Distribution Warehouse Center three miles west of the proposed location handles more than 250 trucks per day, but “due to tight schedules for delivery and pickups, trucks need a convenient location to park while waiting for assigned time slots at the distribution center, refuel and recharge,” the plan description states.

If the travel center is built, it would “create much needed sales tax” for Rock Falls and Whiteside County and will “act as a catalyst for further commercial development in Rock Falls,” according to the plan.

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner reports on Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties for Shaw Media out of the Dixon office. Previously, she worked for the Record-Eagle in Traverse City, Michigan, and the Daily Jefferson County Union in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.