ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara laid out the city’s accomplishments and challenges during his annual “State of the City” address Tuesday evening, but his address did not go off without some drama.
This was McNamara’s sixth address since becoming mayor. Much of his message last year focused on solutions to reduce youth violence.
He highlighted those efforts again this year while also focusing on neighborhood investments and increased property values.
McNamara also addressed economic development, with much of his focus being on the Barber Colman Complex. He implored aldermen to approve a $420 million development deal with J. Jeffers. It would see the complex transformed into private homes, rentals and businesses.
The mayor said that the site has blighted the city for far too long.
“It’s a constant reminder of the decay that has plagued Midwestern manufacturing cities for far too long,” McNamara said. “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We can make Barber Colman a shining jewel of reinvestment and resurgence.”
Aldermen will reportedly begin to hear details on the Barber Colman deal later this week.
McNamara was interrupted by protesters just a few minutes in. Police Chief Carla Redd was seen forcibly removing one person while others were escorted out by officers.
The protestors were voicing their concern over the treatment of Parris Moore, the Auburn High School student who was slammed to the ground by former School Resource Officer Bradley Lauer. Moore suffered severe head injuries from the 2021 incident.
It was announced last month that Lauer would not face charges. He is still with the Rockford Police Department.
McNamara continued his address about 10 minutes later.