Local Unions Support Reclaiming First

By: Shannon Smith Email
By: Shannon Smith Email

ROCKORD (WIFR) – After several months of negotiations, the Rockford Park District and local union leaders are finally working together, to bring more sports tournaments to the area. It’s part of the Reclaiming First Bill which would fund the expansion of area sports facilities.

It’s been a community effort so far, and local union leaders are finally on board for the Reclaiming First Bill, now that a few labor concerns have been addressed.

The local IBEW union wanted to make sure quality contractors are used for the expansion project. If the Reclaiming First Bill passes, that bill would raise Winnebago County’s hotel tax form 12 to 14% to pay for the $43 million dollars in expansions to Sportscore One and two. In an agreement with the union, the Park District will hire qualified workers to complete things like electrical work for those buildings. Now union leaders are ready for the next step.
"Obviously working together we can pull for this thing now and do what it takes to get it accomplished so it's a good thing for reclaiming first, we're excited about getting behind this thing, working with the park district, getting in the trenches and doing what we have to do to make sure it happens,” said Bard Long, President of IBEW Union.
“This is a major step to move us along. i think we have a much better position and authority in Springfield when we give our legislators what they need when we are together locally and we have to really focus on that in the future,” said Tim Dimke Executive Director of Rockford Park District.

This agreement is exactly what local lawmakers were hoping for. State Senator Steve Stadelman says this gives him more confidence to bring the Reclaiming First Bill to the Senate Floor.

The Senate will be back in session next week. If the bill passes there, it will have to be approved by the house and signed by the governor. State legislators hope to have it passed by May.

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