by Beth Altena
Steve Jazwiec—former mayor and mayor pro-tem going into the regular Rockford City Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 8—was elected mayor after some confusion. Both Jazwiec and former mayor Rich Moll were both nominated for the honor. Jazwiec was nominated by Councilmember Brien Dews and Moll was nominated by councilmember Mary Eadie. Dews was nominated and voted into the position of mayor pro-tem.
In Rockford City Manager Michael Young’s report, Young noted the City has taken possession of its newest plow truck, the largest in the fleet, which was parked at City Hall for Council to inspect. He stated that Huntington Bank has committed to sponsoring another year of the Huntington Bank Rogue River Blues Series with an option to sponsor the year after as well.
During public comments, resident Mike MacIntosh questioned the wisdom of covering the Wolverine World Wide tannery site with six feet of topsoil, which is in the company’s plan for the site. He compared the step with covering melanoma and said the last week of demolition was the dustiest of the summer-long teardown of structures.
Council discussed the transfer of the front half of the Rockford Promenade to new ownership. Young noted that, although the building appears to be one structure, it is actually two buildings connected by a promenade. Two years ago the southern half of the building was sold to Natureview Properties and recently the northern building was bought by Rockford resident Dan Trieweiler. Young said Rockford has been working with the new owner to remove unnecessary language from the original Planned Unit Development (PUD) agreement. Young told Council that most of the language being removed addressed issues of the original construction. Other conditions of the PUD, which mostly regulate what sort of businesses can occupy the building as tenants, will remain in place.
“We don’t want to cater to in-and-out traffic,” Young explained.
Restricted uses are businesses such as video rental, salons and convenience stores.
Council discussed and then approved, with two votes against, a resolution requested by Trieweiler, which states the City will never charge for parking in the Promenade parking lot, which is open to the public. Young said he could not foresee the City ever charging for parking in any public parking areas and as his first motion as councilmember, Jerry Coon moved that they approve the agreement. Councilmembers Dews and Jazwiec voted against the agreement, stating that they did not like setting a precedent with the agreement that other downtown businesses might also request.
Council also approved a contract for the rehabilitation of one of the City’s wells, which is planned maintenance and budgeted for $30,000. The low bid contractor was Peerless Midwest, with a bid of $19,754.99. Young said this leaves the remainder of the budgeted amount to cover repairs if any are required. He explained to Council that repairs such as pipe replacement are occasionally warranted. He said Rockford’s well field is in excellent condition and capable of pumping three million gallons of water a day. Currently water use peaks during hot summer days at about two million gallons a day.
Young wrapped up the short meeting with a summary of the recent activities of other board and commission activity. “This time of year we usually can take a break for the holidays,” Young said, but noted the Planning Commission is in the process of reevaluating the section of the City which includes the tannery property all the way over to Courtland Drive, including the former Burch Body Works acreage. He said the Commission will resume this consideration in January.
The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is ready to kick off their year-end-giving campaign and continues to raise money. A recent Texas Hold ‘em tournament raised $5,000 and the EDC stands at about $100,000 after actively fundraising for the past five years.
During Council comments, Moll commended former councilmember and mayor Chi Chi Rogers for her years of service on Rockford’s behalf and also commended each of the other Rockford residents who showed their civic duty in running for office of City Council. Mayor Jazwiec applauded councilmember Eadie on her years of service as well, and noted that the Monday meeting marked her 30th year on Rockford’s City Council.