An indoor Rockford City Market is one step closer to reality.
Aldermen approved a series of changes to the city’s agreement with the vent’s creator, the Rock River Development Partnership. The new agreements softens the financial blow that the city and taxpayers could receive. But, not all aldermen are onboard.
“Any time you’re going to run a business you have to assume risk,” said Ald. Bill Rose. “It’s not fair for the taxpayers to assume that risk for you. It’s up to you, the business owner, to take responsibility for that.”
The city agreed to pay $2.4 million to fix up a vacant building on Madison Street where the indoor market would be held. In case the market flops, it’ll have reimburse millions to the RRDP. In return, the RRDP will contribute 10% of the market’s profits, up to $20,000, into a reserve fund for five years. The money will help offset any shortfalls before the city covers anything.
Ald. Frank Beach supports the idea of an indoor market. Despite the safeguards, he still believes the decision is risky.”
“No equity do we have in this project at all,” said Beach. “When this is all done, if it wants to be sold or traded away, all the equity would not go to us but to those operating [the market.]”
But, Ald. Tim DUrkee says in order for Rockford to develop, risk is part of the equation.
“We can either be the Daniel Burnams of Chicago and dare greatly, or we crawl back and… say ‘we don’t do this’,” said Durkee. “Development doesn’t come without risk.”
If the indoor market does get final approval, city leaders say it should be open in December 2018.