Morrissey contributor owns property near new downtown sports complex
• Project’s architectural firm also contributed to Morrissey’s campaign
By Brandon Reid
A major contributor to the campaign of Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey (I) owns a number of properties in the area near a new amateur sports complex set to open in fall 2014 in the former Ingersoll building, 301-401 S. Madison St., Rockford.
The address for Madison Street Properties, LLC, is listed as the same address as Morrissey campaign contributor SupplyCore, Inc. — 303 N. Main St., Suite 800. SupplyCore, Inc., President and CEO Peter J. Provenzano is registered with the state as the agent for Madison Street Properties, LLC, according to an “LLC File Detail Report” on the Secretary of State’s website.
Matthew S. Marshall, vice president of finance for SupplyCore, was also listed as the “general manager of an LLC representing Madison Street Properties” at a March 15, 2011, Rockford Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meeting.
At the 2011 ZBA meeting, Madison Street Properties’ application for a special-use permit for a mixed-use commercial development in a two-family residential district at 220 S. Madison St., 323 Walnut and 307 Walnut was approved 6-0. The matter had been laid over from a previous meeting because the property was in a historic district and approval was first needed from the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC). According to minutes from the March 15, 2011, ZBA meeting, “The HPC recommended approval, excluding a full-service grocery store.”
According to a search on the Winnebago County Treasurer’s tax parcel database, Madison Street Properties, LLC, owns properties listed at 1XX N. Madison St., two properties on South Madison Street, one on North Madison Street, 307 Walnut St., 323 Walnut St., and two listings for 220 S. Madison St. All of the properties are across the street from or within blocks of the new sports complex.
The Illinois State Board of Elections’ campaign disclosure website (elections.il.gov) shows SuppyCore, Inc., has given more than $150,000 in contributions, in-kind donations, services and loans to Morrissey’s campaign since 2001. Marshall himself donated $400 to Morrissey’s campaign between 2005 and 2010.
Morrissey’s most recent D-2 quarterly report of contributions indicates his campaign, “Citizens for Morrissey,” owes a total of $28,700 in debt to SupplyCore, Inc. The debt is in relation to loans given April 1, 2005 (original amount was $20,000) and May 23, 2005 (original amount was $13,500). Citizens for Morrissey has paid a total of $4,800 toward the debt.
Between 2001 and 2006, Albert Provenzano, owner of SupplyCore, Inc., donated $6,125 to Citizens for Morrissey.
SupplyCore is a global defense contractor with headquarters in downtown Rockford at 303 N. Main St., Suite 800. Peter Provenzano is the company’s president and CEO. Provenzano is also chairman of the Rock River Development Partnership (RRDP), a public/private partnership he co-founded with Morrissey.
The RRDP is best known for the Rockford City Market, which began June 11, 2010, and takes place every Friday during the summer months along Water Street between State and Jefferson streets in downtown Rockford. More than 55,000 visitors attended the market in 2012, and five vendors have found permanent storefront locations in downtown Rockford since the market’s inception.
Financing for the $15 million Madison Street sports complex was approved at the Jan. 28 Rockford City Council meeting. The 115,000-square-foot riverfront complex will feature eight basketball courts convertible to at least 14 volleyball courts, an extreme sports park, children’s play area and riverwalk.
Half of the sports complex project is expected to be paid for with state grants, while the other half will be funded by bonds. The city hopes the facility will host 40 sports tournaments per year.
The city has hired Sink Combs Dethlefs, a nationally-renowned athletic facility design firm, to lead the project’s architectural and engineering team, along with a team of local architectural and engineering firms serving as sub-consultants on the project.
Local architectural design and engineering firm Larson & Darby Group created the initial designs for the sports complex project in January 2011. Since 2006, Larson & Darby, Inc., has donated more than $10,000 to Morrissey’s campaign, including the following donations: $1,000 (Feb. 2, 2006); $900 (May 26, 2006); $80 (Jan. 25, 2006); $900 (June 18, 2007); $1,000 (Feb. 5, 2007); $1,000 (May 2, 2008); $250 (May 29, 2008); $200 (March 30, 2009); $300 (April 2, 2009); $500 (June 3, 2009); $750 (June 1, 2010); $1,000 (Oct. 15, 2010); $750 (June 7, 2011); $1,000 (Nov. 21, 2011) and $500 (June 11, 2012).
The downtown sports complex is one of four projects included in the region’s Reclaiming First master plan for sports tourism. The plan also calls for modernizing and expanding the Sportscore One (1288 Elmwood Road, Rockford) and Sportscore Two/Indoor Sports Center (8800 E. Riverside, Loves Park) complexes.
The Rockford Park District will operate the new Madison Street complex, and the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau will lead sales, marketing and booking of the complex for amateur sports tournaments.
The city-owned former Ingersoll manufacturing complex sits on the banks of the Rock River in downtown Rockford, across the river from Davis Festival Park. The 115,000-square-foot building, built in phases between 1941 and 1967, will become a multi-court, hard-surface, air-conditioned facility and will create an opportunity to host hard-surface sports events that the region is currently unable to accommodate.
Morrissey said in a press release about the complex: “This project will act as a springboard for our community — propelling us to the next level in attracting amateur sports tournaments and tournaments to the Rockford community. This complex will cement our reputation as a premier sporting destination in the Midwest, spur downtown development, generate new tax revenue and grow jobs.”
As part of the sports complex development, the city has also been seeking to extend South Madison Street, which currently dead-ends at the Union Pacific Railroad tracks just south of Grove Street. The extension would extend over the railroad tracks, curve south and east, and then connect with College Avenue and the newly reconstructed Morgan Street bridge. The road would provide another access point to the sports complex and area Rockford Housing Authority residential and retail developments.
In addition to the sports complex and the extension of South Madison Street, the city has also been considering a whitewater rafting course on the river.
Morrissey is seeking a third term as Rockford mayor in the Tuesday, April 9, election. He was first elected mayor in April 2005.
Morrissey’s campaign has about $40,000 in funds. The campaigns of his opponents — Democrat Jim Hughes and Republican Michael Kleen — have about $4,200 and $1,400, respectively.
From the March 6-12, 2013, issue
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