City files lawsuit over clean up of Essex location

The City of Rockford has filed a lawsuit against A-W-Bennett Enterprises Inc. over the cleanup of the Essex Wire plant property. 

The lawsuit was announced Tuesday in a news release from the city. The building is located at 2816 N. Main Street. 

For years, redevelopment of the old structure was floated in a $25 million plan. It was supposed to include three four-story buildings with more than 200 apartment units, two fast food restaurants and a retail location. However, it’s remained empty and no construction has moved forward. 

In its lawsuit, the city alleges the the company has left the site a hazard. Rockford says back in May, representatives from the city and A-W-Bennett Enterprises, Inc. met to discuss the condition of the property and sanctions. As a result, a $50,000 fine was agreed upon and the property was supposed to be brought into compliance within 30 days. The fine has been paid, the city says, but the site is still a hazard. 

Since May 10, the city says the company’s attorney says the owners are still in the process of making arrangements for the site to be cleaned up or sold. On June 11, the city filed suit seeking an order that compels the owner to clean up the site. 

13 News is following this story and will bring more updates online and on air on 13 News at 5 & 6. 

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