ROCK FALLS – Construction delays at the new McCormick Event Center are forcing the Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce to reschedule its annual dinner meeting, which was to be the center’s inaugural event.
Parking lot construction, carpeting, flooring and decor work still are in the works, said local restaurateur Matt Prescott, who, with business partner Tim Kendrick, plans to have The Industrial Restaurant on site ready by the end of March.
The former Rock River Tool and Die building, now named for owner and local businessman Larry McCormick, was to host the annual meeting on Feb. 25, but that now is moved to 6:30 p.m. on March 19.
The event, which draws hundreds, will include the presentation of the chamber’s Shoulder to the Wheel awards, which honor individuals and organizations that have made a difference in the community.
The center, which can hold 600 people and has 120 parking spaces, will be one of the jewels in the crown of Rock Falls’ river development, and chamber President Bethany Bland wants to hold off until it’s fully operational and ready to be showcased.
“There were enough significant delays that we thought this was not quite what they want to put forward, or what we want to put forward,” Bland said. Refunds will be given for cancellations made by March 8.
McCormick said last month that the kitchen was set to be done in March and a grand opening is planned for April or May.
The chamber dinner was to serve as the building’s soft opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony, but “I wouldn’t want to do a ribbon-cutting when it’s 95% complete,” Prescott said.
Now the Sterling-Rock Falls Gobblers’ annual Hunting Heritage membership dinner will be its first event, Prescott said. It starts at 4 p.m. Feb. 29; Prescott’s Candlelight Inn will cater.
The Rock Falls Chamber of Commerce’s annual Shoulder to the Wheel awards will be presented at the annual dinner meeting, now set for 6:30 p.m. March 19 the new McCormick Event Center, 205 E. Third St.
The menu includes fresh tossed salad, herb and garlic pork loin, chicken kabobs and vegetables, garlic potatoes and green beans with almonds. There also will be a dessert auction, ribbon cutting, and presentation of chamber and city news.
Registration is extended to March 8. The cost is $30, with a $5 late fee in the days leading up to the event.
Proceeds will benefit community projects and help keep events such as Summer Splash and Hometown Holidays free.