As Randall stores bloom in Elgin, one site is wilting
By Linda McDaniel-Hale Point Taken August 31, 2012 5:10PM
Updated: October 3, 2012 6:13AM
The corner of Randall and Bowes roads in Elgin is just bustling with shoppers. The new Walmart has been open for quite some time, and now the brand new Sam’s Club is working to catch up.
All this progress and tax revenue is, of course, welcomed by the city of Elgin, with the Grand Victoria Casino downtown suffering from a lag in gamblers who have headed to other casinos to take a chance at making a quick buck.
The Otter Creek Shopping Center on South Randall Road is also looking very busy these days. With some stores moving into new quarters at the plaza and the coming of Big Lots in the next few months, it looks as if Otter Creek has been saved from demise. When the city of Elgin offered Burlington Coat Factory some tax incentives to open its doors, that turned out to be a win-win situation. The shopping center got a great anchor store, and tax revenues are up as Otter Creek has truly been revitalized.
But just north a bit from Otter Creek, there is another shopping center near Royal Boulevard that is not looking very promising. In fact, right next to the building where Walmart previously stood, there is a sign that says “Elvis has left the building.” What that is supposed to mean, I am not sure, but what I am sure is that there are two retail buildings that have seen better days.
At one time, there was a Frank’s Nursery and Craft retailer that closed, a Deals that also closed and a beauty school that is all dark. I can’t tell for sure if the liquor store is still opened; but if it is, it is the only thing. So will anyone rescue this terrible eyesore that needs some tenants?
Perhaps the person or persons who put the sign up stating that Elvis is not in the building doesn’t remember that he passed away 35 years ago. How long will it be before new tenants will be found? Not that this shopping area is the only vacant one in and around the Fox Valley, but help is needed ASAP before these buildings fall into a real state of disrepair.
So as progress is being made with the building of new retail establishments, someone needs to get into the recycling business to save these older buildings. With all the effort taken in the Fox Valley — especially in Elgin by the Gifford Park Association to keep historical homes away from disaster — more plans must be put in place to avoid older retail buildings from standing somewhat abandoned, especially on Randall Road.
Even though Elvis has left the building, the show is far from over. Maybe the sign should read “Let’s Give It A Second Chance.”
Linda McDaniel-Hale is a Sleepy Hollow resident.