ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — As Rock Valley College takes the next steps toward a new Advanced Technology Center downtown, local businesses are showing their support for the location.
“The whole downtown area has been growing, becoming more active, becoming more of a cultural center for the city,” said Judy Johnson, owner of Quixotic Bakery, located in Rockford’s Indoor City Market Building. “Having an influx of young people come down and be a part of what’s going on downtown, I think, is a great thing for our city.”
Johnson is one of nearly 30 business owners who signed a letter of support for the Advanced Technology Center to move into the Rockford Register Star building, at 99 E State Street.
“It would certainly be a great thing for us to have a bunch of young people right across the street from us that might want cookies and ice cream and other treats, so we’re hoping they become a part of the culture downtown,” she said.
The center would create a pipeline, from student to workers, ready to fill middle skills jobs in local manufacturing.
Not everyone supports the decision for RVC to locate its Advanced Technology Center in the Register Star building.
Rock Valley College announced plans in October to abandon plans to build its new technology center in the former Barber-Colman building, even after Rockford approved the $32.3 million project.
Paul Gorski, of the college’s Board of Trustees, said, “The process should slow down, so we do our due diligence. That’s just what a public body should do.”
Gorski believes the school should consider other proposals, saying it’s problematic that much of the parking available near the Register Star has a two-hour time limit, as well as being limited on Fridays when the City Market is open.
“It appears we are, maybe, way overpaying for a building that…is in a poor location, has poor access to parking, and has a poor traffic pattern to it,” he said.
RVC hopes the Advanced Technology Center will be open by next Fall.
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