Hickory Grove Banquet Center in Rochelle To Be Eventually Demolished
One of the City of Rochelle's largest and iconic businesses will be closing and the building will be eventually demolished.
UPDATE: SUNDAY 5:15pm:
Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows issued the following statement on Facebook regarding the future of Hickory Grove:
For clarification, I seriously hope folks ether attend the council meeting tomorrow night or stream it on line, to get all the facts relative to the future of Hickory Grove. After the presentation, feel free to contact myself or the City Manager regarding any questions, comments or concerns you may have, or, as always we have public participation at every public meeting.
To be very clear, There has been no official action taken by the city yet, since tomorrow night is the first it has been on the agenda.
Hope to see you tomorrow night to hear the "rest of the story".
Respectfully Mayor Bearrows
However, the agenda for Monday Night's Rochelle City Council meeting STILL calls for the demolition of Hickory Grove:
I am proposing that the City assume and demolish the facility this year. Before the demolition is completed our team will work to secure a private development partner to construct a new mixed-use property on this site. Please see the attached documents for further information. I will be presenting my plan at the February 10th City Council meeting.
(ORIGINAL STORY BELOW)
Robin Baldwin Gounaris, who is the owner and operator of Hickory Grove Convention Center, Abraham's Bar & Grille, Abes Tiki Bar, deVine Wine Bar has announced the eventual closing and demolishment of Hickory Grove Banquet and Conference Center.
Gounaris states that Ogle County government has refused to help throughout her 15 years of managing the building. The building is owned by the government. The business will remain open in the near term, but demolishment of the building is in it's future.
Gounaris, released a statement on Facebook today share the sad news.
Since it has become public knowledge, my statement is as follows: For 15 years I have tried to save HG...I have come to the decision that I can no longer save it. After many meetings with potential buyers, investors, the county and the city, there are just too many building issues and zero funds to fix them. Please remember, I do not own the building, even though my sweat and tears are in every brick here. Its been my home...a home that is a government building, owned by a board, overseen by Ogle County. Ogle County refused to help throughout the 15 years of being here..not one penny. The only government help I got was from the city of Rochelle, for which I am grateful that all my crying and screaming got them to realize that if I walked, there would be an abandoned building in their north corridor. My goal was never to walk away but to find a solution. A solution that the board, the city and myself have come to figure out. A solution that will bring something great to this property. A solution that all of you will enjoy and be proud of, rather than this old building that we can no longer fix. I will remain in business with the restaurant and banquets that are booked until the demolition is announced. For now, I hope you will find your way, once again, into my building to say good bye. I want you to know, as my friend, I wouldn't of lasted 15 years here without you and my wonderful staff... l look forward to what new adventure awaits. Thank you, I love you all...Robin.