Rockford Council Takes Up Zoning Change, Still No City Response on Stimulus Spending Questions

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The federal government is questioning where the city of Rockford spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in stimulus money, and the city has yet to officially respond.

Employees in the city of Rockford are putting together a report to show how they used federal stimulus dollars. That report was supposed to be done Monday night, but wasn’t. Mayor Larry Morrissey told the aldermen that staff will need a few more weeks to get everything together. The federal government has asked the city to return more than $200,000 since the city can't hand over recipes showing how the money way spent. Rockford's Human Services Director denies those accusations

Rockford aldermen had other issues to tackle, including a change to the zoning near Rote and Perryville Roads that will pave the way for a new shopping center called the Perryville Promenade. It will include a Meijer superstore, but the project is not popular with some neighbors.

“We knew that would not always be a cornfield, we want a 12 foot fence that will barrier the sound, some of the sound from that large super store with the trucks going in and out, the parking lot, the doors slamming since it is a super center," says neighbor Gail Pickering.

The zoning change was approved on Monday, but not the changes neighbors want. The zoning will need to be voted on again next week.

Two aldermen oppose the project, including Alderman Linda McNeely. She says there are better locations for the Meijer store, especially on the west side where there aren't a whole lot of grocery stores.

If this project is approved construction could start as early as next spring. Once it's completed, the entire shopping center is expected to generate 3 million dollars in sales tax revenues for the city.

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