Water, Hope VI funded; Wal-Mart delayed

Rockford aldermen approved the sale of $17.5 million in bonds during the April 10 City Council meeting. While $15 million of those bonds are earmarked for water improvements, $2.5 million will finance tax increment funding districts for public improvements.

City Finance Director Andres Sammul said the $15 million in bonds would pay for the first phase of a three-phase, $75 million program to improve the city’s water system. Sammul said the improvements would ultimately eliminate water pressure issues.

The program, he said, would also upgrade the system’s infrastructure. According to Sammul, 10 treatment plants would be added at well sites.

Sammul said the next two phases would be financed by the sales of $30 million in bonds each in 2007 and 2008.

“The system should be state-of-the-art,” he said.

The lesser of the bond sales will finance infrastructure improvements within the Hope VI redevelopment project area, Sammul said. He said that area is—located in far west Rockford—bordered by Chestnut, Liberty, Pierpont and Springfield streets.

According to Sammul, Winnebago County created the Hope VI tax increment-funding district in December 2005 after receiving a $19 million federal grant. He said the city then annexed that area.

That second phase, Sammul said, calls for 26 homes to be built in the area, while the second phase would bring more than 50 rental units to the area. He said another 26 homes would be built during the project’s third phase.

Another development project suffered a setback. The proposed development of a Wal-Mart at the intersection of Linden and Alpine roads was sent back to committee. Ald. Jeff Holt (D-11) made the motion.

“There’s a number of issues that need to be addressed,” he said.

According to Holt, the city would be obligated to pay for any costs beyond what the agreement might call for. After Holt’s motion was made, Ald. Leonard Jacobson (D-6) went to bat for Wal-Mart developer Wald/Land Corp. of Peoria.

“Those folks are totally committed to paying for that intersection,” Jacobson said.

But he said the developer was itself concerned about financing any improvements not directly related to the development.

From the April 12-18, 2006, issue

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