Local Leaders Discuss State of Public Housing in Rockford

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The Rockford Register Star hosted a forum to discuss the state of public housing in Rockford, Tuesday night. The meeting came just a day after Rockford Aldermen vented their frustrations with Wisconsin developer Gorman about a controversial proposition for a 49-unit low-income housing project on South New Towne Drive, on Rockford’s East side.

14th Ward Alderman Joe Chiarelli says of Monday night’s meeting: “It just goes to show you the confusion and the chaos that’s been going on with this issue (South New Towne), and we need some more education on it. We need some more cooperation on it, and we need to be included in discussion.”

Andre Blakley, from Gorman & Company, attended Tuesday night’s forum, and took questions from those in attendance.

Many residents and aldermen want Gorman to be more transparent about their public housing plans. Blakley calls the meeting step one in that process.

He says, “Certainly, this is an opportunity for just a fresh start, and a reset at the conversation.”

But many feel these types of discussions should have been held when Gorman first decided to develop public housing on Rockford’s East side.

Winnebago County Board Member Eli Nicolosi says, “In lieu of everything that’s been happening obviously with South New Towne, and other issues, it’s interesting to have this conversation now, instead of six months ago. But better late then never.”

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