City of Rockford Planning Commission

Wolverine presents responsible approach to tannery site redevelopment

June 17, 2010 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL At the May City of Rockford Planning Commission meeting, Wolverine World Wide (WWW) offered up a conceptual proposal and rendition of the company’s plans for redevelopment of the tannery facility. The following in verbatim is the verbiage of that spring 2010 update. “Following Wolverine World Wide’s 2009 decision to close our Rockford, Michigan-based tanning facility, the Company has been engaged in exploring future options for the centrally located, 15-acre site. This process, which has continued to involve discussions with the City of Rockford and area officials, is intended to fulfill Wolverine’s stated intent to ‘do something special for the community and the City of Rockford on this unique waterfront property in the heart of downtown.’ “The Company’s current plans call for a patient, flexible and responsible approach to redeveloping the former tannery site. Our approach is guided by two important objectives: preserving and enhancing the overall economic vitality of the City of Rockford; ensuring that any future development of the site is sustainable over the long term. “Pursuing sustainable development means taking into account the challenges posed by today’s economy. The downturn has taken a heavy toll on real estate investment and development activity, both regionally and nationally. As a result, there are currently fewer potential partners with the resources for implementing a broad, near-term plan for the site. On a related note, the economic downturn has been hard on existing Rockford businesses. Any new development activity must be considered in light of current and projected consumer demand. “While these challenges do not preclude our working with interested partners to pursue a comprehensive redevelopment plan, Wolverine believes it is in the best interests of both the community and the Company to focus on smaller-scale initiatives in the near term that can help lay the groundwork for additional development activity in the future. “Wolverine is currently in the process of working with City and state officials to move ahead with two specific projects: constructing a new Wolverine retail store at the south end of the vacant property. (3.7 acres of the 15 total acres of the site.) Our enhanced retail presence would replace the Company’s Rockford Footwear Depot at 235 N. Main Street and provide an added “draw” for the portion […]

City to draft wind turbine ordinance, proposes moratorium on growing medical marijuana

February 4, 2010 // 0 Comments

The City of Rockford Planning Commission listened to advice from Cascade Engineering’s Jessica Lehti on crafting a wind turbine ordinance. She spoke before the group on Thursday, January 28 at Rockford City Hall after a dinner of pizza and soda. Cascade Engineering’s Renewable Energy Solutions has sold turbines around the world and has worked with municipalities that have ordinances in place and those that do not. According to Rockford City Manager Michael Young, there have not yet been any proposed wind turbine installations in Rockford, but Wolverine World Wide has considered putting in large wind turbines in years past. Leiti said Wolverine has contacted her company more recently and has a meeting set up to discuss wind turbines. “We waste a lot of energy in America,” Lehti said. She said it is important to look for new ways of creating energy. “The way we are doing it now [creating energy] is not very efficient.” She said it is important to look for new ways of creating energy now before we have rolling blackouts, and stated that the way we make energy now, from coal and natural gas, will not last forever. Lehti explained the output of different wind turbines in kilowatt hours and said ten 100 kilowatt-bulbs use one kilowatt of energy, and left on for one year use 8,760 kilowatts (kW) of power. In her household she took on a company challenge of lowering energy use and is leading with a low 6,000 kW per year. Smaller wind turbines, those up to the size of a water tower (a large small, Lehti said), generate considerably less energy than larger ones, whose energy creation is measured in megawatts. One megawatt is 1,000 kWs of energy. Lehti said a beneficial aspect of wind energy is that wind is often most powerful at the hours of the day when more energy is being used, between 12:30 and 4 p.m. Unfortunately, Michigan is not a particularly windy state. Wind quality in Rockford is not substantial, she said. Lehti advised Rockford to create an ordinance for both residential and industrial areas of the City and said some cities only allow installation through special use permits, which is expensive and time consuming. She said that the Federal Aviation Association already […]