Rockford’s Barber-Colman campus: the next big project downtown

The Barber-Colman campus is one of 878 brownfield properties in Rockford.
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 3:25 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - New life could be on the horizon for a historic Rockford building vacant for 20 years, thanks to nearly $4 million in grant funding.

The Barber-Colman building has been a blight on Rockford’s south west side for two decades. City leaders say vacant buildings are more than just an eyesore.

Materials inside are unsafe and potentially contaminated; sites that often attract crime. Millions of dollars have already gone into cleanup efforts but thanks to a new brownfield grant to the tune of $3.9 million, there’s hope that the site will see better days ahead.

“We’ve spent probably $4 million in clean up work here at the Barber-Colman campus, dating back to 2000. Most of it was grant funded, but there’s still a few things left that we need to address; that we’re working with the J. Jeffers group, the site’s proposed developer,” said Robert Wilhelmi, brownfield redevelopment specialist.

The Rockford City Council approved the sale of the building site in October 2021 to Milwaukee-based developer, J. Jeffers & Company, for $500,000. The city says they continue to work with the proposed developer on plans for revitalization, including a mix of residential, commercial and multi-cultural uses while preserving the heritage of the campus.

The Barber-Colman campus is one of 878 brownfield properties in Rockford.

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