New truck stop (copy)

The property where Uncle Johnnis Restaurant and Pancake House on East Court Street in Kankakee was located had been targeted by Travel America as an over-the-road service station. Nearly two years since the announcement, no progress has been made.

It was the early months of 2018 when Travel America purchased the 7.1-acres immediately east of the East Court Street BP gas station.

The group had purchased the property immediately east of the existing BP gas station on Kankakee’s eastside for $500,000.

The 1.5-acre BP station site, 1860 E. Court St., stood to have a new neighbor in the Travel America development.

The discussion had been that Travel America would be constructing a truck stop, largely to accommodate over-the-road truckers as they traveled along Interstate 57 or Illinois Route 17.

When the purchase was announced, it was said the development would be opened by late 2018.

To date, however, not one thing has changed. The 7.1-acre lot, which once was the home for the popular eatery, Uncle Johnnis Restaurant and Pancake House, still remains vacant. The property has been unused since the pancake house was destroyed by fire in January 2008.

Kankakee 7th Ward Alderman Carl Brown said to his knowledge the project had only been in the discussion phase.

“I don’t think it ever went anywhere,” he said this week.

Kankakee Planner Mike Hoffman said much the same. He said there have not been any discussions regarding Travel America in the past several months.

This would mark the second proposed truck-related travel stop to be announced along East Court and not be constructed.

Ownership of the service station Ricky Rockets Fuel Center had announced plans and purchased property about four years ago to build a large truck stop along East Court Street east of I-57’s 312 interchange, but that development also has not taken place.

Hopefully, one or both of these projects can materialize as the city’s east entrance is in need of serious upgrades.

• • •

Congratulations to village of Bradley employee Gail Schultz.

Schultz, 60, was recognized for 25 years of service to the village. The honor came a year late — she’s now been with the village for 26 years — but better late than never.

The 1977 graduate of Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School, Schultz began her career in September 1993 in the accounts payable department as a part-time employee.

She became a full-time employee in 1996 as a secretary. She has served numerous positions within the government. In February, she was transferred to the police department, where she is a records clerk.

Schultz also is the daughter of Ken Hayes, the former long-term village mayor.

She has played a vital role in the ongoing success of the annual Bradley Christmas parade. She has touched many departments and village-sponsored events.

Schultz said while she enjoys her new role, she also has an eye on retirement.

Her husband, John, recently retired from the Illinois Department of Transportation, and she finds it more difficult to go to work as he stays at home.

If you see Gail, congratulate her. She has always been a great representative for the village of Bradley.

The Daily Journal’s Lee Provost writes about local business rumors, comings and goings and other notes of interest. Anyone with information to share should contact Provost at or 815-937-3364. A version of this story appeared in the Friday digital edition of the Daily Journal.

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