March 19 Rockford City Council briefs

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11745000201935.jpg’, ‘Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin’, ‘Because of the action of the Codes and Regulations Committee, a two-thirds supermajority approval by the full council will be required for the drive-in to move ahead.‘);

The proposed revival of the Sunset Drive-In at 1801 Samuelson Rd. is in jeopardy. The Codes and Regulations Committee unanimously voted down the annexation agreement and subsequent special-use permit, siding with concerns of neighbors. The issue will still go on to the full council, but a two-thirds supermajority vote will be required to overrule objections from nearby residents. County Board member Pete MacKay (R-5), who was also in attendance, introduced a resolution March 8 to object to the proposed development.

During public participation, Troy Tucker invited the mayor, aldermen and the public to a 9/11 discussion held at Club 505 March 20. Tucker said the forum would be about facts and timelines, not theories. For information about future 9/11 forums, Tucker can be e-mailed at

Also during public comments, Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD) Chairman Gary Marzorati thanked the city for its financial support over the past 35 years. Marzorati said he’d be calling aldermen in the coming week to discuss future plans for RMTD.

The council approved the award of two bids to Rockford Blacktop. The first award is $163,797.53 for Clifton Avenue reconstruction. The second award is $164,933.71 for water pressure zone boundary work. Rockford Blacktop was the low bidder for both projects.

Aldermen also approved an agreement, not to exceed $1,033,800, with Hanson Professional Services, Inc., for engineering and construction on Harrison Avenue bridges.

With the Blackhawk-affiliated IceHogs’ move to the AHL a done deal, Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) took a moment to reference his March 15 State of the City address titled “Leading boldly—working together.”

“Today, we had the opportunity to celebrate one of the bold plans we’ve put together and pushed over the last two years,” Morrissey said, “which is the MetroCentre renovation, including the acquisition of the new American Hockey League (AHL) franchise.”

Morrissey described the city ownership of a hockey team as innovative.

Mayor Morrissey spoke briefly about the upcoming visit of the Swedish ambassador and business leaders April 18 as part of Entrepreneurial Days (E-Days). The conference focuses on international commerce, with sessions taking place in Rockford and Chicago.

“We look forward to that opportunity to continue to discuss Rockford’s opportunities for international growth,” Morrissey remarked.

The mayor and Ald. Doug Mark (R-3) blasted the local daily for its recent depiction of plans to build a downtown “Riverwalk.”

“There’s only one thing that they forgot; none of that’s been decided yet,” Mark indicated. “I think it’s a little disingenuous when we go out and start saying that it’s going to be $3,500 a foot to build this thing.”

Morrissey described the article as “not very responsible journalism, and very misleading.”

Aldermen voted to establish the Northern Illinois Technology Triangle (NITT) Commission in partnership with Boone County, the City of Rochelle, Northern Illinois University, Ogle County and Winnebago County. The commission’s aim is to seek financial support from the state to lay fiber-optic line along I-39 between Rockford and Rochelle. The City of Chicago completes the triangle, with fiber-optic lines running along I-90 and I-88. The fiber-optic “ring” is one of Mayor Morrissey’s “Four Rs.”

The City Council gave its nod to the Carlyle Brewery, 215 E. State St., to expand its operations into the former Hideaway dance club next door.

Aldermen unanimously approved the city’s $240 million budget for 2007. In a last-minute amendment, the council voted to make $1 million immediately available for local roads, regardless of the outcome of the April 17 sales tax referendum.

Aldermen Ann Thompson-Kelly (D-7) and Linda McNeely (D-13) were absent.

from the March 21-27, 2007, issue

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