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Daily Journal
     June 11, 2021      #34-162 KDJ

Road Ranger travel center coming to

By Jeff Bonty

BOURBONNAIS — A Road Ranger travel center is proposed to open on the Bourbonnais Parkway in late 2022 or early 2023.

The Rockford-based company purchased an 11-acre lot on the southwest side of the Interstate 57 interchange (Exit 318).

Details of the project were presented during a Bourbonnais finance committee meeting last week.

The travel center would include fuel service areas for automobiles and semi-tractor trailers. There would be a convenience store that includes food services.

Jennings Realty of Chicago is the developer for the undisclosed landowner of 145 acres on the east side of U.S. Route 45/52 between Indian Oaks Road (East 5000N County Road) and Bourbonnais Parkway (East 6000N Road).

The travel center would become the third located in Kankakee County. There is a Love’s Travel Stop located at Exit 308 on I-57 in Kankakee and the company is currently building a facility on the east side of Grant Park.

During its presentation, Jennings representatives asked trustees for $1.5 million in tax increment financing (TIF) to be used for infrastructure work on three connecting lots on the south side of the parkway, which includes the 11-acre lot Road Ranger is purchasing.

TIF districts allow local governments to invest in infrastructure and other improvements through the property taxes generated within the district’s boundaries.

Jennings’ financial officer, Jim Adamo, said the money would be paid back through tax revenues (sales tax and gaming tax). The length of the loan is until 2029, but Adamo said that it could be paid off in three to five years based on projected revenues.

Trustees gave approval for attorneys representing all interests to work out the details.

Mayor Paul Schore said the village has been in discussion for the past year on the project.

“This will bring in a lot of out-of-town money,” Schore said. “This is a quality project, a good project.”

The village has not had any serious discussions with other businesses looking at the area, though another 10.4-acre lot on the southeast corner of Bourbonnais Parkway at U.S. 45/52 has drawn a lot of interest, he said.

Schore and other village officials visited Road Ranger’s travel center in Marion, which opened late last year.

Realtor Jeff Bennett of McColly Real Estate was the land broker for Jennings.

“This is the perfect fit for the first project involving the Bourbonnais Parkway Exchange,” Bennett said. “This is a win-win for all sides.”

Road Ranger plans to invest between $9 million and $10 million in the project, Bennett said. It expects to employ between 60 and 70 full-time and part-time workers.

Range Rover officials didn’t respond to an email for additional information. The company owns 74 travel center and convenience store locations in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Texas, Arkansas and Wisconsin. Half of the locations are located in Illinois.

Jeff Bonty is a reporter for The Daily Journal. He can be reached at jbonty@daily-journal.com and 815-937-3366

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