Ron Aulbach

Childsdale paper mill in the process of rezoning for new use

March 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

Church considers rehabilitation of riverfront structure by BETH ALTENA On Monday, March 7, Plainfield Township trustees described the progress of a potential rehabilitation of a historic 17.58 acre property and former paper mill at 7700 Childsdale Avenue. BridgeWay Pastor Ron Aulbach said current owners, Rockford Paperboard Company, have offered to donate the waterfront property to the church, which currently meets at East Rockford Middle School. The ten year old church is considering using part of the existing structure and demolishing 60-percent of the building. BridgeWay has asked the township to rezone the property from light industrial to a Planned Unit Development. A public hearing on the proposed change will take place in April. The land last changed hands in December of 1998 when it was sold by Central Leasing to Rockford Paperboard Company for $432,000. Assessors have the value of the building today at $309,500 with a taxable value of $292,861. The structure is actually listed on tax rolls as five different buildings, an office building with 2,271 square feet, three additional buildings of 15,580 square feet, 10,000 square feet and 12,000 square feet and a warehouse of 65,800 square feet. According to Township Manager Bob Homan, the structure is an eyesore and a cobbled together monster that dates, in part, back to the original building of 140 years ago. “It is a terrible, horrible building,” he said. “It was probably a terrible and unsafe place to work. There are probably places better than that in Pakistan and and India.” Homan said the building has not been used in over a decade and then the owners were operating at the barest of margins. He also said it was added to over the years with no regard to code and “is like a ruin.” Aulbach said the donation depends on the results of environmental testing and the company the church is using is in the process of Phase I and Phase II evaluation. Phase I is an eyeball overview of the facility and Phase II will consist of water and soil sampling. He said the church estimates it will cost a million dollars to demolish much of the existing building and rehabilitate the remaining 40 percent on the easternmost side of the structure. “It’s kind of […]