By Jim Hagerty
The Rockford City Council will spend $152,968 to convert a downtown railroad bridge into a walkway over the Rock River to complement two major downtown developments.
The plan targets the bridge just south of downtown near Fordham Dam, north of the new Morgan Street Bridge. The structure will be a pedestrian thoroughfare to the $70 million Amerock building hotel project near Davis Park and the nearly $15 million overhaul of the old Ingersoll property on Madison Street. The city plans to fund the bridge project by way of the motor fuel tax.
Alds. Linda McNeely, D-13, and Teena Newburg, I-9, voted against allocating motor fuel tax money away from road repair.
“If it had come from any other fund, I would have supported it,” Newburg said after the meeting.
Aldermen are also discussing spending a total of $1.1 million for a portion of a Rockford manufacturing facility at the corner of Harrison Avenue and 11th Street to make way for a road improvement plan.
If the council approves the project, the city will spend $300,000 in city funds and the remaining $800,000 in grants to purchase the office area of Paoli Manufacturing at 2531 11th St. The building would be demolished so crews can widen Harrison Avenue to four lanes and install a center turn lane. The cost of that project is $20 million.
In other city news, a study that could result in traffic circles on three Rockford roads is under way. The city is considering circles at the corners of South Second and Oak streets, South Second and Grove streets, and the corner of Crosby Street and North Highland Avenue. Orange barrels are being used to simulate traffic circles. Results of the study are expected in coming weeks.
From the June 18-24, 2014, issue