UPDATE: Aldermen Approve $12 Million in Loans for Sports Complex

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Rockford aldermen approve the loans for the $24 million downtown sports complex.

The city council on Monday gave the green light to take out $12
million in loans to pay for the overhaul at the former Ingersoll building on the river in downtown. The whole project will cost $24 million but half will be paid for by grants. Crews are expected to start construction work at the start of the new year. The facility should be open for tournaments by June 2016.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The plan to renovate a downtown building into a first of it's kind indoor sports complex in Rockford takes a step closer to becoming a reality.

Talks have been going on for longer than a year because of many questions concerning how much the it'll cost to turn the former Ingersoll building into a sports tourism attraction.

Some aldermen say those questions have been answered, so now aldermen are preparing for what some are calling an historic vote by the city council, perhaps as soon as next week.

The downtown sports complex project passed one hurdle Monday night, the city's finance and personnel committee approving the issuance of bonds to help pay for the complex. Now the full council will get a chance to vote on the same issue, and if they approve, all that's left is hammering out who constructs the building.

"It's been a long road," says 5th Ward Alderman Venita Hervey. "There were a lot of questions about funding. There was never a question as to whether we were in favor of the project. We all want the project. We think it's going to be amazing for Rockford, for downtown."

"This venue is really going to happen," says Rockford Park District executive director Tim Dimke. "That there's really going to be several thousand people converging on downtown Rockford 25 to 30 weekends a year."

This plan has been in the works for five years according to Dimke and if things follow a favorable timeline for the project, we told bids could be approved by January and the complex could be built by summer 2016.

Aldermen say the dust has settled on the controversial cost of the complex. Original estimates for the complex were around 18 million dollars. Now the cost is expected to be around 24-million, 12 million to be payed for by tax payers.

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