GRANT PARK — Love’s Travel Stop is targeting a 7-acre parcel to develop a truck-focused fueling complex on the northeast portion of the eastern Kankakee County village.
Love’s Travel Stop & Country Stores, based in Oklahoma City, Okla., will be seeking a change in zoning from the Grant Park Planning and Zoning Commission — from agriculture to commercial.
If the zoning change is approved at Thursday’s meeting, the request goes to the Grant Park Village Board for approval on Tuesday.
If successful at both board meetings, it is likely the six-to-eight fuel island complex will be in operation at some point during 2020.
Love’s owns and operates a much larger complex — about 20 acres — along U.S. Route 45-52 in Kankakee just south of the Interstate 57 308 interchange. Love’s also owns a 12-acre complex in Dwight, just off of Interstate 55.
The Grant Park development actually will be about 5 acres, as 2 acres will be devoted to a retention pond.
Grant Park Mayor Martin Roth said the Love’s complex would be developing one of its smallest truck stops at the Grant Park site, which would be on the northwest corner where Illinois 1/17 connects with Illinois 1.
“This is for the truck traffic in that area,” Roth said. “This would not be increasing truck traffic. This is a great opportunity for the village to take advantage of additional sales tax.”
There has been some opposition to the development. Thursday’s meeting is being moved from the village hall to the Grant Park Community Center, 209 W. Dixie Highway, in anticipation of a larger-than-normal gathering. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.
TRAFFIC, NOISE CONCERNS?
Those opposing the development have stated concerns regarding possible impacts it could have on the area, including more traffic, lighting and noise. Some residents say they fear an increase in drug and prostitution activity as well.
Roth said preliminary estimates have shown the village could receive between $60,000 to $75,000 of additional tax money annually as a result of the development through sales taxes, property taxes and motor fuel taxes.
The bulk of those funds would be used for village road maintenance.
“For a little town like Grant Park, that’s a lot of money. I’m not dissuaded by the few who are having an issue with this. I don’t know why they are doing what they are doing,” he said.
A Casey gas station, which would be about one-third of the size of the Love’s project, is about a quarter-mile west of the proposed site.
“This is not gigantic by any means. As a village, we have to take advantage of every opportunity; we have to grow. Increasing our tax base helps protect our schools and our community.”
Opposing the development, Jane Johnson, who is not a Grant Park resident but lives nearby, said the public has little knowledge of project details. She has concerns the village will lose its charm with a development such as this.
“If any of us want to live in the overdeveloped suburbs, we can just move there,” she wrote in a letter to prior to a Jan. 9 public hearing. “But in reality, suburbanites are moving here to escape the crime, congestion and expense of those areas. The real issues raised here are lifestyle and quality of life.”
Love’s operates more than 500 locations in 41 states.