Study: Rockton could support downtown hotel

Staff writer

ROCKTON — The Village of Rockton could support a hotel downtown, according to a recent survey.

Village officials approved the hiring of the Growth Services Group back in October to conduct a hotel feasibility study for Rockton to provide a demographic and economic overview to determine if a hotel would be a good fit for the community of 7,685 people.

Rockton Planning and Development Administrator Tricia Diduch said the village received a draft of the report two weeks ago which found a downtown hotel is feasible, with Rockton’s healthy wedding and sporting industries as well as two large employers who bring in employees to be trained — Chemtool and Taylor Freezer. Weddings are often held at The Pavilion at Orchard Ridge Farms, Williams Tree Farm, the Church by the Side of the Road, the American Center in downtwon Rockton, and DC Estate Winery.

Though the winery is technically in South Beloit, Diduch said Rockton is very close to South Beloit.

“It is nice to have the study to provide factual basis to the belief that we could support a hotel downtown,” Diduch said.

The work is just beginning for village staff members, which includes finding developers or investors interested in building a hotel. At this point, she said there’s currently no timeline for having a hotel in downtown Rockton, but the village will be attending several conferences that will host hotel vendors.

“It’s something that has been talked about for a few years, but until you have a study that says it’s financially viable you can’t go anywhere,” Diduch said.

The hotel study will be followed by a retail overview study to determine if Rockton could support an additional mixed-use development.

Growth Services is being paid $6,500 for the hotel study and $2,500 for the retail study.
Diduch said the two possible hotel sites include the former Sonoco Paper Mill and land owned by Hendricks Commercial Properties along the Rock River immediately east of downtown and to the south of Hononegah High School.

Diduch declined to release the full study as it is not yet finalized.