River District, Miracle Mile funding left off council agenda

By Stuart R. Wahlin
Staff Writer

After a hiccup that sent the matter back to committee for reconsideration, thereby delaying for weeks a vote deciding whether the Rockford City Council would approve $40,000 in funding for the River District Association, the 550-member nonprofit that markets downtown businesses and housing will have to wait another week to see if it can count on the financial commitment the city has made in previous years. The additional delay was attributed to an inadvertent error that omitted the report from the May 3 council agenda.

The work plan and fee-for-service contract first came before the council April 12. Typically, a new committee report would lay over for one week, but rules may be suspended by a simple majority to forego the layover for an immediate vote. A motion to do so failed in a voice vote, however.

When the report returned to the floor April 19, some aldermen balked at the notion of providing the full funding request of $40,000, which would be split evenly from the East and West Side tax increment financing (TIF) districts. Since 2007, aldermen have provided $40,000 annually to the group, which also relies on member dues, grants, sponsorships and other financial support to operate.

As the city is no exception to the economic downturn, however, Ald. Ann Thompson-Kelly (D-7) moved to refer the report back to committee April 19 in conjunction with a request by Ald. Bill Robertson (I-14) for committee members to re-evaluate how the city funds such organizations.

The Planning and Development Committee ultimately gave a second nod to the $40,000 funding toward the group’s $155,000 budget for 2010, but put the River District Association and similar groups on notice that next year could be a different story.

A $30,000 funding request from Miracle Mile Rockford, another nonprofit group that markets businesses along East State Street, from Fairview Boulevard to just east of Alpine Road, and south to Morsay Drive, was also erroneously absent from the agenda. Funding for the group’s request would come from Miracle Mile TIF District funds.

As a result, neither funding matter will be voted on until May 10.


→ Granting an honorary street name change of the 2000 block of Green Street to Elizabeth Peterd-Standfield St. in honor of the resident who will be turning 100 years old May 20.

Committee reports

→ Approving reimbursement of a $10,000 liquor license fee to Hacienda Real, 1202 Sandy Hollow Road. According to Legal Director Patrick Hayes, the refund comes as a result of a transaction to sell the business falling through.

→ Recommending the sale of a vacant city-owned lot at 2405 Rose Ave. for a minimum bid of $5,600.

→ Awarding a $15,000 contract to Ellen Burgeson & Associates to act as grant administrator for the Keith Creek flood mitigation project.

→ Awarding an estimated $80,000 for code enforcement cleanup services to be shared among Strategic Contracting Services, A.J. Morley & Associates, B&J Excavating, Rick’s Property Services, Jose Rodriguez and Pete’s Cleanup Service.

→ Awarding a $235,925 bid to TCI Concrete for city-wide inlet repairs.

→ Awarding a $166,388.04 bid to Norwest Construction, Inc., of South Beloit, for city-wide street repairs.

→ Approving an engineering agreement amendment to provide an additional $31,374.30 to McClure Engineering Associates, Inc., for Rockton Avenue curb and gutter replacement. McClure’s total cost is not to exceed $38,142.26

→ Amending a construction engineering agreement with McClure Engineering Associates, Inc., for work related to the second phase of the Day Avenue reconstruction project. The additional $19,275.30 extends McClure’s maximum project cost to $152,279.

→ Approving a $3,528.56 repair claim by Elizabeth Russell, a Fire Department employee whose vehicle was struck by a city vehicle on city property.

→ Approving a $28,895 agreement with Arc Design Resources, Inc., for design engineering and construction observation related to improvements at the intersection of Illinois 251 and Ethel Avenue.


May was proclaimed Mental Health Awareness Month and Motorcycle Awareness Month. May 6 was proclaimed National Day of Prayer. May 8 was proclaimed National Letter Carriers Association Food Drive Day. The week of May 2-8 was proclaimed National Drinking Water Week.

Public comments

Brady Johnson, a stroke survivor, offered his services to city leaders to help raise stroke awareness in the community. Acknowledging May had been proclaimed Stroke Awareness Month, Johnson said he’d like the education to continue year-round.

In the name of saving lives, Jim Buckingham urged aldermen and the Police Department to allocate more resources toward cracking down on drunk drivers.

Prophet Yusef outlined a number of Rockford resources he believes are being underutilized, including the mechanical and manufacturing workforce, the tourism industry, the Chicago-Rockford International Airport, bus service, logistics and real estate. By realizing the full potential of these, Yusef said, the city could turn its financial woes into a windfall of more than $18 million in one year.


Aldermen Lenny Jacobson (D-6) and Ann Thompson-Kelly (D-7) were absent.

From the May 5-11, 2010 issue

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