Rockford’s City Council is called into action during it’s first meeting of 2019. Community activists are a asking members to save a piece of Rockford’s history. As community members want to save the former Diocese of Rockford Chancery on North Court Street. Activist say the building has potential.
“Consider granting historic status to the chancery,” said Resident Dorien Peterson. Community members are doing what they can to stop the demolition of the building, after the Diocese of Rockford had slated it to be razed. “People in the neighborhood feel they haven’t been listened to, they haven’t been giving the opportunity to talk about it with the diocese,” said Alderman Chad Tuneburg (R-3rd).
“How much that has happened because of the old buildings that still stand?” asked Resident Doc Slafkosky. “If you notice the parking lots, nothing has replaced them. There were buildings there at one time, but now they’re torn down”
Activist spoke with Rockford Aldermen hoping they would approve the historic status they’re asking for. “When the Chicago Tribune wrote the article on Rockford, they didn’t come here to talk about our parking lots,’ said Slakfosky. “They came to talk about the wonderful things that are happening downtown and all of those things, that were mentioned in the article are happening in historic buildings.”
“I would like to see the constituents in this ward to be heard, for this to be vetted, and a process be put in place to see if there’s any interest involved,” said Tuneburg.
Residents who live in the Signal Hill Neighborhood say there isn’t much left and they’re scared a piece of their history will be gone.
“There’s so much history in these beautiful buildings,” said Resident Gwen LaSchock. “Moreover, children priests, nuns, families, all benefited from these institutions and all will feel a tremendous loss, a huge wound if there are destroyed.”
“It sound pretentious to say that art belongs to the people but when it has been in the neighborhood for generations ownership is emotionally transferred,” said Peterson.
The next step is for the Rockford Historical Preservations Commission to meet and hold a hearing. If passed, it would go onto the Code and Regulation Committee, then to full City Council for a vote.