The Amerock building in downtown Rockford is a notorious eyesore, vacant for decades.
Throughout the years there have been plans to rehabilitate the building, but they’ve always fallen through.
Now, Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey has a new plan he hopes will finally turn it into a bustling hotel and convention center.
The decaying Amerock building continues to sit with broken windows and rusting parts in downtown Rockford, unchanged since the first plan to remodel it was proposed five years ago.
Mayor Morrissey asking City Council to consider yet another new proposal.
The third version of the development agreement will transform it into a Hilton Embassy Suites and conference center.
“My understanding is the new plan calls for not building the parking structure, and using surface parking,” said Alderman Tim Durkee. “And then taking a funding stream to support the building of the convention center.”
But it’s still an expensive proposition.
Under the new agreement, the city of Rockford would sell bonds to pay for the construction of the $13.1 million conference center and then repay those bonds, using funds generated by a sales tax on hotels, packaged liquor sales, and restaurant bills.
“I am not in favor of taking funding streams that have another designated purpose to pay for private development like this,” said Alderman Durkee.
Residents are concerned as well.
Scott Abbott is a part of Facebook group Neighbors Against Gorman.
Abbott doesn’t like the idea of using taxpayer money to fund the center.
“I don’t agree with the investment of $13.1 million into this private business entity,” said Abbott. “It’s classic crony capitalism.”
Both said they need more financial information, and would like an actual written development agreement.
During a special planning and development meeting next Tuesday, alderman could consider an amended development agreement.