ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Rockford aldermen consider a plan to pay a local business owner more than a million dollars for part of his building on Harrison Avenue to make room for an upcoming construction project.
The city council took their first look Monday at a plan to buy a section of a building at Harrison Avenue and 11th street. The office section would be demolished but the manufacturing facility and storage areas would remain. The building would be purchased for $1.1 million. This would make room for construction crews to re-do Harrison and widen the street to included 4 lanes of traffic plus a center turn lane. The city and state are dividing the cost of the $20 million project which should begin next construction season.
Another project that should start next year, the conversion of an old railroad bridge in downtown into a pedestrian walk way across the Rock River. The bridge is just south of downtown and is expected to complement the planned sports complex and hotel at the Amerock building. Aldermen agreed Monday to spend $152,968.38 from motor fuel taxes for engineering work on the bridge. Two on the council voted against this project, 13th Ward Alderman Linda McNeeley and 9th Ward Alderman Teena Newburg.
“It's a very good program, I want to see it go but I cannot consciously vote to use motor fuel taxes. That’s for roads. Our roads in Rockford are being fixed but they need to be maintained. If it had come from any other fund, I would have supported it," says Newburg.
The city plans to spend a total of $300,000 on this project. The entire thing is expected to cost $1.1 million dollars with the rest coming of the money from grants.