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Aldermen give nod to purchase Amerock Building

March 31, 2010

Ald. Linda McNeely (D-13) was the only vote against the purchase of the Amerock and Tapco buildings. Photo by Stuart R. Wahlin

By Stuart R. Wahlin

Staff Writer

In a nearly-unanimous vote, aldermen approved the purchase of the Amerock building, 416 S. Main St., for $240,000 with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. The city plans to pursue additional grants to demolish and clean up the site for potential use as festival grounds along the river, but redevelopment of the building has not been ruled out. Meantime, city officials are also eying Amerock’s neighbor, the Tapco building, as part of the plan. The price tag for the pair would total $409,000.

Moving ahead with plans to acquire the Amerock property, city leaders were clearly not impressed by the latest pitch from private investors asserting they wanted to develop the site into a hotel, convention center and retail outlets. Aldermen have heard similar proposals before, but none has come to fruition.

Rockford Area Economic Development Council Board Chairman Bill Roop, also president of Alpine Bank, noted, “I think the sites have been available for some time for potential development if individuals or entities were able to do so.”

River District Association Executive Director Kim Wheeler Johnsen agreed, noting the district’s board of directors recently approved a resolution supporting the city’s purchase of the Amerock and Tapco buildings.

“We believe the city has the best financial resources available, as well as other resources, for cleanup and development of these properties,” she said. “And it is crucial to have these properties in the right hands to continue the ongoing development of downtown.”

Ald. Linda McNeely (D-13) voted against the purchase.

Ordinances

→ Extending a collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1058 C through 2010.

→ Amending a redevelopment agreement with Midtown Lofts, LLC, granting an extension request by which construction must begin by June 1 and be completed within three years.

→ Guaranteeing a $1.5 million secure revolving line of credit to the Rockford Mass Transit District through J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. The agreement will be reviewed annually.

→ Approving the 2010 license and fee schedule. Ald. McNeely voted “no.”

Committee reports

→ Authorizing a $28,000 settlement in the case of Kyle Wagner v. The City of Rockford et al. The federal civil rights lawsuit, filed in 2007, alleges two Rockford police officers used excessive force against Wagner.

→ Authorizing a $25,000 settlement of the personal injury case of Paula Green v. The City of Rockford.

→ Approving the $17,416 purchase of a cargo van for the Head Start program under a state contract.

→ Awarding a $19,000 bid by Anderson Rock River Ford for Head Start’s purchase of a used 2008 Dodge Caravan.

→ Awarding a $26,777.13 bid to GHA Technologies, of Scottsdale, Ariz., for three years of iPrism Web filtering services.

→ Approving a $24,660 sole-source contract to Innovative Data Solutions, of Brooksville, Fla., for the purchases of Power DMS Suite software, the Power Base training system and related licensing.

Appointments

Aldermen confirmed Mayor Larry Morrissey’s nominees for appointment to the newly-created Rockford Area Venue and Entertainment Authority (RAVE), which will oversee operations of the MetroCentre, the Coronado Theatre, Davis Park and the Sullivan Center.

The new group will include the chairman of an advisory group that led to RAVE’s creation, Mike Dunn. Dunn is president of Dickerson & Nieman Realtors and chairman of the Greater Rockford Airport Authority Board. His term will expire June 2015.

First Rockford Group President Sunil Puri was appointed to a term expiring June 2011.

John Phelps, executive director of the Rockford Local Development Corporation, and Robert King, vice president and senior business development officer for Associated Bank, were appointed to terms expiring June 2013.

Attorney Craig Thomas will serve until June 2014.

Ald. McNeely voted “no.” Ald. Doug Mark (R-3), a MetroCentre employee, abstained.

Absence

Ald. Carl Wasco (D-4) was absent.

 From the March 31-April 6, 2010 issue

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