OTB may move into Don Carter Lanes

August 5, 2009

A committee report recommending passage of an amended redevelopment agreement with Don Carter Lanes, Inc., for interior and exterior renovations at 4007 E. State St. was read into the record for a layover.

Don Carter Lanes will invest at least $1.4 million in upgrades to its bowling alley, concessions and bar. Per the agreement, the city will provide $430,000 in tax increment financing (TIF) funds toward the rehabilitation over six years.

The improvements are expected to result in 12 new part-time jobs, and one new full-time position at Don Carter.

Because the city and county have a deal on the table to relocate Trackside Rockford, a nearby off-track-betting (OTB) facility at 5011 E. State St., to Don Carter, it’s no wonder the lanes are getting a facelift.

In addition to the TIF funding for improvements at Don Carter, the city and county are offering incentives to court the OTB as a tenant of Don Carter Lanes.

Per the agreement, Don Carter would receive an additional $50,000 in TIF funds for improvements necessary to house the OTB. Additionally, the city would provide $50,000 toward the OTB’s relocation costs, plus a $35,000 rebate from the city’s share of betting revenues.

More cops to be hired, thanks to COPS

While the city’s contract negotiations with the police union are sure to cause headaches and gray hairs for both sides during the economic crisis, what looked like certain layoffs in the department has been eased by a Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant of more than $3.6 million from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Later this year, the grant will provide for the hiring of 15 officers to bring the department to its full strength of 306 in the next three years.

“It definitely is good news,” Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) asserted. “It doesn’t mean we’re out of the water by any stretch, but it’s definitely helpful for all that we’re going through.”

The COPS grant is part of a $1 billion federal stimulus program to hire 5,000 police officers throughout the country.

Twenty-one police departments in Illinois will receive a combined total of approximately $26 million through the program.

Explaining how Rockford was able to secure the federal dollars when so many other Illinois communities could not, Morrissey indicated: “One of the things that we’re not really proud about is that we’ve got a high crime rate. But we are proud of our efforts that merited the investment by the federal government in this program.”

Cities to be issued grants were determined on the basis of crime statistics and fiscal need.

City property for sale

Aldermen passed ordinances to place up for sale city-owned property at 925 Maple St., 914 Maple St., the southeast corner of Maple and Lee streets, 719 Lee St. and 729 Kilburn Ave. Respective minimum bids, which include the cost of advertising, are $800, $325, $475, $325 and $900.

Committee reports

u Contemporary Hammer Works was awarded its $27,700 bid for remodeling two city offices at 1111 Cedar St.

u Northern Illinois Service was awarded its bid of $3,686,271.70 to rehabilitate the Dawson Avenue water main.

u William Charles Construction, formerly Rockford Blacktop, of Loves Park, was awarded its $657,122.69 bid for reconstruction of Park Avenue, and Locust and Loomis streets.

u Healthy Neighborhood Program funding in the amount of $10,000 for the Northwest Community Center was approved. The center will expand its out-of-school suspension program to include students from West and Kennedy middle schools, as well as Auburn High School.

u Funding was approved for Southwest Ideas for Today and Tomorrow (SWIFTT) in the amount of $41,052—a 15 percent reduction for 2009.

Re-appointments

Michael Bonavia, Todd Crull, Lowell Larson and Frank Schmitt were re-appointed to three-year terms on the Electrical Commission. Their terms expire June 2012.

Patricia Kiddell was re-appointed to the Fair Housing Board for a three-year term expiring June 2012.

Dave Hendrix and Brad Glidden were re-appointed to the Mechanical Board. Hendrix’s three-year term expires June 2012. Glidden’s two-year term expires June 2011.

Marcia L. Mueller was re-appointed to a two-year term on the Police Pension Board, expiring June 2011.

Proclamations

The week of Aug. 3 was proclaimed Paint-A-Thon Week, and Aug. 8 was proclaimed Paint-A-Thon Day. Partnering with Valspar, the Salvation Army’s annual volunteer event has been responsible for painting 774 area homes for elderly and disabled people since the program was first implemented locally 21 years ago.

With a record of 71-7, Rockford’s Olympic Blazers 12-and-under baseball team was recognized by having August proclaimed Olympic Blazers Month as the youngsters advance to the Pee Wee World Series in Puerto Rico Aug. 6-9.

Aug. 4 was proclaimed National Night Out in recognition of the city’s participation in the annual nationwide crime-prevention event.

Absences

Aldermen Frank Beach (R-10) and John Beck (R-12) were absent.

from the August 5 – 11, 2009 issue

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