ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Three years and $100 million later, the day has finally arrived.
State Senator Dick Durbin says, "The caseload and the importance of this courthouse I think are well known to the people of Rockford and Northern Illinois. I'm sure this Rozkowski courthouse is going to be a good, safe place for us to administer justice."
This morning marked the official opening of the Stanley J. Rozkowski U.S. Courthouse in downtown Rockford, the new home for five courtrooms and several U.S. agency offices.
While the project saw its ups and downs over the construction process, it provided a boost to local employment, and many hope it will continue to do so in the future.
"This project in itself created over 1,000 jobs for the citizens of Rockford. This building will be the fabric of this community; it will be the fabric of the society. It will help bring people to this area and it will help revive the economy”, says Ann Kalayil of the U.S. General Services Administration.
Rozkowski served as a judge in the Northern District of Illinois for more than 20 years before retiring in 1998. He is also an Army Air Corps veteran, having fought in World War II.
Not everyone who showed up at the 5.5 acre site was there to support the federal building. Members of the Occupy Rockford movement stood in front of the courthouse steps, voicing their displeasure with the new structure.
"One hundred million dollars for a courthouse and we still haven't gotten a train in this community yet. There is a lot of infrastructure issues, there is a lot of other things. But ultimately this is the symbol of federal authority in Rockford”, says Occupy spokesman Eric Howanietz.
Senator Dick Durbin and 17th district candidate George Gaulrapp fielded questions from protestors following the ceremony. The group says the answers they received were satisfactory; however they are looking for government action, not just words.