WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- The Illinois State Senate will convene Monday for the final lame duck session before new legislators are sworn in.
One bill the Senate expects to debate would have a huge Stateline impact. The Reclaiming First bill failed earlier this year however, Senator Dave Syverson says he personally plans to spearhead an effort to get the measure passed. It would increase the tax on hotel stays in Winnebago County to 5%. All that money would be put towards the Reclaiming First initiative which includes renovating the Ingersoll building in downtown Rockford and expanding Sportscore One and Two. Those projects are expected to cost $41 million; this is all so Rockford can reclaim the designation as the number one sports destination in the Midwest.
"The people who are coming to Rockford are coming from Indiana, Iowa, Michigan,and Minnesota. These out-of-staters are spending their dollars here and that is a big difference then what people think as local tourism," says Syverson (R)-34th.
All three projects are expected to generate around $6 million in business for the Rockford region each year, pus create 250 full time jobs in the Stateline’s tourism industry. Syverson says if this bill can make it through both houses by next Wednesday, and get the governor's approval, construction for the projects can get started as soon as this spring.