ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) – Rockford continues to be revitalized. After sitting vacant for years, a developers is set to breathe new life into the Barber-Coleman building.
City leaders said that while there is a long way to go, it is encouraging to have a developer who is willing to work with community members on a transformational project.
The Barber-Coleman facility is now one step closer to redevelopment following a vote by Rockford’s Finance and Personnel Committee on Monday night. Aldermen pushed forward a measure to sell the land to a private developer for half a million dollars.
The Milwaukee based real estate group hopes to create a mixed-use campus on the property. This comes almost two years after Rock Valley College decided not to build it’s Advanced Technology Center at the site.
The Barber-Coleman campus is in Alderman Gabrielle Torina’s Fifth Ward, and she said that the redevelopment is sorely needed.
“The thing about the project is that the developers were very clear that they do not want to develop this without input from the community,” Torina said. “And that is what made me feel like they were going to be the right people to invest here.”
Also moving out of committee Monday night was a special-use permit for the International Women’s Baseball Center, which came despite some opposition from the non-profit “Friends of Beyer Stadium.”
City leaders said that they are holding on to hope that they two sides can come to an understanding, but that it is essential not to miss out on an opportunity to highlight the history of the Rockford Peaches.
“Even the most vocal members of Friends of Beyer, I have never heard anybody say that they do not want this museum to happen,” said 14th Ward Alderman Mark Bonne.
Both measures will now move on to the full City Council for a vote.