DECATUR – When Rodney Walker resigned his seat in the Decatur City Council in July he said it was so he could contribute to his community in other ways.
One of those ways will soon come in the form of a new restaurant.
Work is underway on Skycity Grill, which Walker plans to open by early November. The location, 1099 W. Main St., is close to Millikin University.
“It’s right there on campus where the old Garcia building is, next to the cellar,” Walker said. “Right there, around the corner. A perfect location.
When Walker left his post on city council, he hinted at his future plans. He said his position had “hindered me from many opportunities” due to conflict of interest laws.
“I had to be ready to go when some of these opportunities knock on the door,” he said in an interview with the Herald & Review in July.
According to Walker, obtaining gambling and alcohol licenses was not a conflict. It was the location of the business that caused the dilemma. The building is located in a tax increase financing district.
“State officials cannot be directly or indirectly involved, or even family members, in a TIF district,” Walker said. “I can’t do as much in the community as I was on the board, but I still help the community in other ways by being an investor. “
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Skycity Grill will seat approximately 50 customers with an after-hours walk-in window. “When closed inside, food can always be served later,” Walker said.
The last hours were part of Walker’s plans. “We wanted to give students access to food,” Walker said.
Dining hours will begin at 3:00 p.m. and will remain open until approximately 9:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The window will be open until approximately midnight.
The menu will offer a variety of options, from breakfast dishes to sandwiches, salads with wings, lamb to fish. “And we’ll have a small bar that can seat around 10,” Walker said.
Another community goal of Walker is sport. He is the CEO of SkyWalker International Sports Complex, located at 400 E. Eldorado Street, and the basketball coach for the boys at Eisenhower High School. A 1991 graduate of St. Teresa High School, Walker, 47, played professional basketball abroad for eight years before returning to Decatur.
The restaurant will continue its passion with a games room and televisions placed throughout the dining room, but with families and children welcome. “I want to make it accessible to kids so they can get something good on the menu,” Walker said.
He also wanted to reassure the community that he would not return to a career abroad.
“The home of Decatur,” Walker said. “I am here to stay.”
Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR