ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford City Council members were set to consider a proposed multi-million-dollar housing development, but the discussion was once again pushed back due to absences.
The vote was originally laid over after the passing of Alderwoman Linda McNeely. It was brought back now that Jeff Bailey represents the 13th Ward, but residents will have to wait a few weeks before any decisions are made.
“At the developer’s request due to the number of aldermen who are absent tonight, I would move that we lay this item over for two weeks,” said 14th Ward Alderman Mark Bonne.
The future of the 14-acre field on S. Avon Street remains up in the air. The project would transform vacant land on the city’s West Side into a residential space.
“And our hope and plan is that it becomes a vibrant community that can continue to contribute, or will contribute, to the overall being well-being of the city,” said Jerry Lumpkins, president of the Rockford Housing Development Corporation Board.
In addition to apartments and other units, developers intend to include a mixed-use commercial building for entrepreneurs and businesses, plus family resources like a child care center and social service area.
Alderman Isidro Barrios, 11th Ward, said that the benefits go beyond these services, however.
“The community is going to benefit, because this is going to impact economically. They’re going to bring more business, they’re going to bring more taxes, they’re going to bring more service to the area,” he said. “So, the community is going to benefit.”
A big issue has been the environmental condition of the property. Soil disturbance can create erosion concerns, potentially causing water quality problems. The native wildlife would also be disturbed.
“It is clean property. We have a no further remediation letter from the State of Illinois, the EPA, and as a banker, we would not be able to get financing for this project if it were in fact contaminated,” Lumpkins said. “My family lives a half block away from this development. I would not be looking to support something if, in fact, it had issues in terms of environmental concerns.”
The project will take three years to complete if passed.
“It’s just a good hope,” Barrios said. “From nothing, to build houses, new buildings, commercial space and green areas, this is what we need.”
The item was laid over for two weeks for the meeting on August 21, making it two months since it was first introduced.