Anderson vented his frustrations to City Council Monday night. He's hardly the only one who feels this way, but it's the most vocal expression of a local business leader's disappointment with Rockford City Leadership yet. "There is a growing frustration, across the board about the way we've going about doing our business, and the private sector wants to step up to the plate and make something happen. We would like to have government get the hell out of the way to make it happen."
Anderson wants something done about shoddy buildings like the one crumbling away next to the Octane restaurant. The same at the old Chick Hotel across from the BMO---both owned by the city. "That's our front door to the BMO and it's embarrasing that we have a cyclone fence still around that building, No development."
Anderson says the buildings aren't only eyesores---they scare away business. He says several investors have approached the city to redevelop them with no luck. "We're fed up with that," he says, "and we need to expose that we're a 'do nothing' community, and we need some action."
Actions like re-evaluating how the county assesses property value, and holding slum lords accountable with daily fines. On the line--Anderson says 100 million dollars in future investments--that could soon go up in smoke, dooming an already struggling downtown district. "Everyone's complaining about their high taxes, and their low values, we're going in the opposite direction in both elements and that doesn't make for a healthy community, nor does it make for a sustainable community."
Anderson says he hasn't heard any feedback from Rockford city leaders yet, We plan to follow-up on his concerns, and get city leaders' reaction to his claims.
Anderson, who heads the firm Gary W. Anderson and Associates, also provided a study on downtown development he did on how downtown property value assessments undercut property values, which is attached.