City Council hears variety of information at May meeting Rockford’s Harvest Festival will again offer a beer tent, road construction is underway, and Ron Riebschleger believes he is being unfairly targeted by city officials. These topics were just a few before Rockford’s City Council during the Monday, May 10 meeting at city hall. Also under discussion were the rezoning of Wolverine World Wide property to commercial and kudos to the city on its headway in becoming a National Tree City. Main Street is in the process of being resurfaced, of which anyone driving downtown Rockford is surely already aware. The project was originally planned to take place after Wolverine World Wide demolishes the existing buildings. According to Rockford City Manager Michael Young, plans for the demolition are still uncertain, and funding for the repaving needs to be used. Trucks removing Wolverine debris will be routed out of town via North Main Street through the industrial park. Wolverine has announced plans to move the shoe store from its current location to the southernmost part of the property and rebuild closer to Rockford’s downtown retail. According to a spring update by Wolverine, the existing buildings will be completely demolished and the remaining property, except for the new shoe store, will be left as green space while the company decides how to utilize the riverfront property. The company may take advantage of the city’s Brownfield Authority. If Wolverine pursues that route, both the city and the state must approve it. Resident Mike McIntosh told the council and city staff that he was very impressed by the recent Arbor Day celebration at Valley View Elementary School. “I saw it as a coming together of community, city and schools,” he said. Ron Riebschleger said it has become apparent to him that city notification of violations of code by tenants of his property on Bridge Street are part of a vendetta by the City of Rockford against himself. He believes the problem began when he tried to sign up his son for a spot at the Rockford Farm Market to sell honey and popcorn and was turned down. Riebschleger said the reason he was given for turning down his son’s application for a booth was first that there were no open […]
Rockford City Council
The City of Rockford will buy the former 63rd District Court building at City Hall for 10 dollars and allow Kent County to lease a portion of it for up to 75 years. The Kent County Board of Commissioners approved the deal on Tuesday, Dec. 15, after Rockford City Council did late last month. “One of the stipulations is, if we win our lawsuit, that building immediately reverts back to county property, so they can bring the court back,” said Rockford City Manager Michael Young. “Our main focus is on bringing the court back to Rockford.” The City has had a long understanding to have the right of first refusal if the building were to come up for sale, and Young said he believes the city should control the building at 105 Maple Street. Both the court building and City Hall were built after removing residential homes from the block. The City believes a court presence is required by law in the city and hopes to have recently moved Judge Servaas back in residence in the Rockford court building. Servaas and the former staff of the court are now working in a new court building in Grand Rapids Township. Kent County contends the presence of a part-time magistrate fulfills the legal requirements for a court presence in the City of Rockford. A judge ruled that a court presence was required, but failed to define what the phrase actually means. A suit is currently in appeal, asking for a full court to be reinstated. Young said he is surprised a ruling hasn’t yet been produced, but said he is hopeful because it has taken so long to rule. “If it was cut and dried, we probably would have heard by now,” he said. Young also said gaining control of the building will also make it easier to reinstate a court presence. “If the county put something else in there, like the health department, it would be harder to bring the court back,” he said. Nonprofit organizations such as the Rockford Chamber of Commerce or the Rockford Area Arts Commission may eventually be housed in the portion of the building the county will not use.
Rockford City Council will discontinue the print edition of the City newsletter, The Outlook. According to City Manager Michael Young, the step is in line with the City’s goal to be more “green” and would also save $6,000 a year for the six newsletters printed. The information would instead be available online. The City would still print a limited number of newsletters for those who ask to have one delivered to their homes. “I don’t know if we don’t hear from people we assume that’s good enough,” commented councilman Rich Moll during the board meeting Monday, July 20. He suggested a notice in the final newsletter, which will be printed this fall, asking people to let the City know if they prefer a printed edition.