Within five years, the Larry Morrissey administration has transformed one of Rockford’s most significant historic landmarks into a poster child for urban blight.
The Armory is now a moldy, raunchy, decaying hulk, thanks to gross neglect by the City of Rockford Public Works Department.
After every rain, water sits in stagnating puddles throughout the building.
They’ve long known that the roof was leaking badly, but chose to do nothing — not even a temporary patch or plastic tarps.
The interior is covered with mold and mildew. The 21,000-squar foot maple floor in the drill hall has warped, curled and rotted.
Frequent reminders and warnings to the supervisor that the Armory needed critical ventilation and roof drainage maintenance were met with a shrug and “let it rot” attitude.
When the city acquired the Armory, it became a handy, secure storage place for everything from dinosaur fossils and rocks to fake ice rinks and skid loaders. It was in daily use during the construction of the famous $8.5 million Riverwalk.
Since Rockford is chock full of vandals and thieves, secure storage will always be a pressing need, but now they’ve transformed the Armory into another pathetic Church School dump.
From the July 23-29, 2014, issue