Barber Colman Complex Approved For Cleanup

Rockford Alderman unanimously approve environmental remedial work

ROCKFORD - On Rock Street lies the abandoned Barber Colman complex, what once used to be a sprawling textile manufacturer, is now a cluster of decaying, empty buildings. 

The Rockford City Council however, believe it won't remain that way for long.

The council voted unanimously Monday night  to begin environmental cleanup on the Colman Campus using EPA funding the city has already received.

"I think this is good, I am really looking forward to moving this project forward," said Rockford Planning Administrator Wayne Dust. 

"In the case of the use of the Colman Village for the use of the Rock Valley College Technical Center, the loan will not be required to be payed back," Dust said.

The city will use $800,000 from that revolving loan for soil excavation and groundwater treatment. 
The decision was made after the city requested $3 million dollars from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.  The money is planned to be used as part of the Colman Campus for Rock Valley College's Career Technical training institute.

The city has applied for the grant but has not received word on if it has been approved. 

"I am a fan so long as we have community support," said Alderman Kevin Frost. "What I mean by that is, I would like to see Rock Valley College and the County, and if we can obtain state and federal dollars that would be great as well," he added.

The City hopes both the Winnebago County Board and Rock Valley College do their part in funding the project.  However, those talks have been preliminary. "We've got really nothing yet in front of us, we have the concept in front of us and that's it," said Winnebago County Board member Eli Nicolosi. "So it's really hard for us to say anything or come up with anything until we see more about it," he added

The County is deep in debt, even having been sued by the Winnebago County Chief Judge for underfunding the courts. Both boards however, have said they are willing to support the plan.  "Chairman Haney and Rock Valley College, their boards has both expressed support of moving forward with the project," Frost said.

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