By RYAN SILVOLA
ROCKTON — Businesses in Rockton have joined together to host the second annual Summer Sidewalk Sales event in light of road construction affecting their businesses.
The sales event will be from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on July 14. Tammy Hendricks, owner of Rubies n Rust, said the downtown Rockton retail establishments — along with some of the eateries — will have sidewalk sales and specials during the event.
Hendricks said the participation and feedback the businesses received from the first Summer Sidewalk Sales encouraged the shops to host another event.
“It just gets everyone out and together and shows what Rockton has as a whole,” Hendricks said.
She believes businesses have been impacted by ongoing road construction throughout Rockton while crews work to install stoplights downtown. Officials say Union Street and Main Street will be open during construction. However, Route 75 (Blackhawk Boulevard) will be closed from Mechanic Street to Union Street and from Union Street to Green Street.
“We’ve been hit pretty hard with construction on Route 75,” Hendricks said. “We’re trying to get the word out that we’re still here and operating.”
She said the downtown businesses haven’t been receiving the amount of traffic they traditionally have received, noting construction has made it more difficult to get downtown. Hendricks said the downtown area has lost several businesses but also has gained a few more.
“We’re trying to make it worth their while to come out to the businesses,” Hendricks said.
She encourages customers to come explore downtown Rockton. She said July is the perfect time for the event, since not much is going on before school picks up again in August.
“You don’t have to drive. Just walk the block and spend some time eating, shopping and enjoying the day,” Hendricks said.
The road construction is mandated by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). Late last year, crews installed stoplights on the corner of Blackhawk Boulevard and Main Street.
This year, crews are working to install stoplights at Blackhawk Boulevard and Union Street.
Officials from IDOT said earlier this year crews are aiming to have the stoplights finished by Aug. 31, though there’s a 15-day leeway period pending inclement weather or underground obstacles.
For more information on the summer sales, visit facebook.com/TheShopsofRockton.