Rock Valley College Trustees, City of Rockford Interested in Expanding to Barber-Colman Property

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“The riverfront is an untapped potential, I believe. And if we can get that type of project along the river, that will boost development in that area and throughout the downtown and central city area,” Senator Steve Stadelman (D) said, referring to the potential of the Barber-Colman property.

Eyewitness News reported Tuesday on a potential partnership between Rock Valley College and the City of Rockford, to convert some buildings on the Barber-Colman Campus into the Rock Valley College Training Center.

“This project is not only good on its own merits, but I think it can be a boost for the economic development throughout the community, and especially the downtown area. And we need that so desperately,” Stadelman said.

“This kind of facility is just going to be a home run, in the fact that we’re going to have a state of the art training facility, we’re going to revitalize that side of town, and, you know, it’s going to increase jobs,” Winnebago County Board member Eli Nicolosi tells Eyewitness News.

Some officials saying its location and the facility’s ability to train people with the skills to get in demand jobs are two shining points.

But with a huge project would come a huge cost.

Roughly $32 million to be exact — with officials hoping to get about two-thirds of that from state and federal grants.

But with the City of Rockford projecting deficits, the state being broke, and no guarantee of federal dollars, some believe the plan is on financially shaky ground.

“You’re also counting on a lot of federal money and tax credits to make it work. And then what happens if that doesn’t come in? What’s the liability to tax payers?” Senator Dave Syverson says.

However, City Administrator Jim Ryan says the state tax credits that may be in question make up about $3.9 million of the $32 million project, but says it’s not an insurmountable hole.

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