April 9 Rockford City Council briefs

Alberta Walker, member of the Executive Committee for the Northern Illinois Minority Companies Association (NIMCA), addressed the Rockford City Council during public comments. Walker asked aldermen to preserve and continue supporting NIMCA’s short-term loan program.

“We’re asking that these programs, because they are and have been successful, be kept alive,” Walker petitioned. “If it’s not broke, then we don’t have to worry about fixing it.”

NIMCA is a non-profit organization promoting minority and female-owned business development.

Crystal Lake attorney Michael Smoron spoke on behalf of DKN Partnership, owners of the Baymont Inn, during public participation. Smoron wished to express his clients’ concerns about the proposed use of about 7 acres of property on North Lyford Road that the Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD) wants to develop into a bus transfer terminal.

However, because the matter was on the evening’s agenda, Smoron was not permitted to discuss the petition directly.

Limited in what he could say, Smoron urged aldermen, “Any consideration, any time, that you can make for Baymont Inn and the principal with their concerns would be greatly appreciated.”

Restaurants and hotels along the East State Street corridor have been resisting the transfer center.

When the matter came to a vote later in the evening, the Council eventually approved the RMTD map amendment and special-use permit in a 7-5 vote. Aldermen Joe Sosnowski (R-1), Carl Wasco (D-4), Nancy Johnson (D-8), Frank Beach (R-10) and Jeff Holt (D-11) cast “no” votes.

RMTD Board Chairman Gary Marzorati hopes to break ground within 18 months.

Mayor Morrissey proclaimed the week of April 9 to be Holocaust Remembrance Week in Rockford, in memory of the nearly 6 million Jews who were murdered between 1939 and 1945, as well as the gentiles who risked their own lives to save those of the persecuted.

In honor of their recent exhibit opening, Mayor Morrissey proclaimed March 30, 2007, to be “He & She” Vallien and Hydman-Vallien Day and welcomed the Swedish artists to Rockford. The exhibition will last through July 8 at the Rockford Art Museum, 711 N. Main St.

Mayor Morrissey spoke briefly about a city fire truck that had been struck by gunfire earlier in the day. No one was injured in the incident, but no arrests were made. Morrissey blamed Rockford’s proliferation of illegally-obtained firearms for recent outbreaks of gun violence.

City officials hope the community will take a more active role in stepping forward to report crimes.

“The only way that we’re going to be able to solve the crime problem,” Ald. Victory Bell (D-5) said, “is for the citizens themselves to begin to partner.”

Tree Care Enterprises of Rockford was awarded a bid for tree removal, with an estimated annual cost of $160,210 to the Street Division operating budget.

Neenah (Wisconsin) Foundry was awarded a $59,980 bid for iron sewer castings.

Aldermen once again approved a $75,000 disbursement to the Rockford Area Arts Council (RAAC). RAAC’s annual operating budget is $550,000, obtained primarily through grants and membership revenues.

Aldermen approved a five-year 50 percent sales tax rebate agreement with Sunil Illinois LLC for a new Dollar Tree store at 11th Street and Pershing Avenue.

Ald. Doug Mark (R-3) read in a resolution for the city to object to an amendment before the county to rezone 2.75 acres of Agricultural Priority to Commercial General District at 7753 and 7779 W. State St. in Winnebago Township.

Aldermen Linda McNeely (D-13) and Bill Timm (R-9) were absent.

from the April 11-17, 2007, issue

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