Rockford alderman questions future library location

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- First Ward Alderman Tim Durkee is questioning the library board's decision to rebuild the Rockford Public Library's main branch on Wyman Street.

"There's only so much riverfront; there's only so much lakefront, and to squander it for a government building, like I said, makes no sense," said Durkee.

It will have to be torn down because toxic soil was found underneath the building.

"The library can be pretty much anywhere downtown. But we have an ample building stock that's underutilized. Being on the riverfront adds no effective value to the operations to the library. It just doesn't. There is a growing 24/7 population in downtown Rockford and more to come, and in order to sustain that and create value for these people, there needs to be ample green space," said Durkee.

Supporters of the Wyman Street location say a lot of thought and planning went into keeping the library on Wyman Street, and they say they believe it's a good investment.

"We looked at many, many alternatives. It was clear that rebuilding the replacement library at the site of the old library was by far the most prudent option," said Rockford Library Board President Paul Logli.

ComEd will be funding the entire project; however, Durkee is afraid it won't be the best use of funds.

"Most cities on water are exploiting their river banks or shores and opening them up as green space or recreational space, not putting buildings on it," said Durkee.