DECATUR — When Rodney Walker resigned from his seat on 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 the beginning of November. The location, 1099 W. Main St., is near Millikin University.
“It’s right there on campus where the old Garcia building is, next to the Winery,” Walker said. “Right there smack on the corner. A perfect location.”
When Walker left his post on the city council, he hinted at his future plans. He said his position had "hindered me in several 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 during an interview with the Herald & Review in July.
Receiving gaming and liquor licenses was not a conflict, according to Walker. It was the location of the business that caused a dilemma. The building is in a tax increment financing district.
“The state’s elected officials cannot be involved directly or indirectly, or even family members, in a TIF district,” Walker said. “I can’t do as much in the community as I was on the council, but I still help the community in other ways by being an investor.”
Skycity Grill will seat approximately 50 customers with a walk-up window planned for after-hours. “When it’s closed on the inside, food can still be served in the later hours,” Walker said.
The later hours were part of Walker’s plans. “We wanted to give the students access to get food,” Walker said.
Dine-in hours will begin at 3 p.m. and stay open until approximately 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The window will be open until approximately midnight.
The menu will have a variety of options, from breakfast items to sandwiches, salads to wings, lamb to fish. “And we’ll have a small bar that seats about 10,” Walker said.
Another community focus of Walker’s is sports. He is the CEO of SkyWalker International Sports Complex, 400 E. Eldorado St., and the Eisenhower High School varsity boys basketball coach. A 1991 St. Teresa High School graduate, Walker, 47, played professional basketball overseas for eight years before he returned to Decatur.
The restaurant will continue his passion with a gaming room and televisions placed throughout the dining area, but with families and children welcomed. “I want to make it accessible for the kids to be able to get something good off the menu,” Walker said.
He also wanted to reassure the community he was not returning to an overseas career.
“Decatur’s home,” Walker said. “I’m here to stay.”
Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR