Rockford Downtown Development Authority

The Food Network to film at Rockford Ice Festival

January 6, 2011 // 0 Comments

Grand Rapids has had its share of Hollywood stars in town filming big screen movies, thanks in large part to Michigan’s tax credits for the film industry. Now, the spotlight will shine on Rockford, thanks to the Food Network and a new series they are shooting with Grand Rapids-based Ice Sculptures LTD. Earlier this year, Ice Sculptures LTD caught the attention of the Food Network by creating a full-size pool table, cue sticks, and balls made out of ice—which you could actually play without breaking; no pun intended—for Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Ice Sculptures LTD owners Randy Finch and Derek Maxfield also have an impressive resume, having created ice sculptures for the White House, the Super Bowl, and Hollywood, just to drop a few names. They are the featured ice carvers for Rockford’s Second Annual Ice Festival, to be held in downtown Rockford on Saturday, Jan. 8, from noon to 4 p.m. Ice carving is a discipline of the culinary arts, hence the connection to the Food Network. The upcoming series, “Ice Brigade,” will begin airing in April. More than 30 producers and support staff have been in Grand Rapids and points beyond filming Ice Sculptures LTD in action. For the Rockford Ice Festival, Finch, Maxfield and team are creating a very special sculpture for the ninth hole of the ice miniature golf course. The hole is being sponsored by the City of Rockford’s Downtown Development Authority. While the exact structure will remain a surprise until Saturday, it has been engineered with the help of Ferris State University and is a Rube Goldberg-type invention. The miniature golf hole will have all kinds of interactive parts, and will be the focus of the Food Network festival filming. Rockford High School media students also will have the opportunity to work with the Food Network producers, assisting with filming-related activities and securing releases for visitors who may appear on television. Members of the school’s Youth Initiative Community Service Club also will be volunteering throughout the festival. Other festival activities include: • a four-hour carving demonstration on Reds’ deck—think Captain of the Seven Seas; • showstopper sculptures in front of the Welcome Center (sponsored by the City of Rockford) and Promenade South building (sponsored by Trendwell Energy); • […]

Rockford considers extending Downtown Development Authority 30 more years

August 20, 2009 // 0 Comments

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) in Rockford may be extended another 30 years if the city council approves. The DDA is up for renewal in 2013 but Young said he hopes council will extend the tax dollar capture now. Young said it is possible future laws may prohibit the extension of DDAs and there is no reason to wait. The City created the DDA in 1984. DDAs take a percentage of tax dollars from the district—in this case Rockford’s downtown—and reinvest in that area. In Rockford the DDA has funded banners, light poles, benches, planters and paid for half of the purchase of the former Northland Pontiac property. “It is very effective,” said Young. “The downtown wouldn’t be what it is today without the DDA.” Kent County Administrator Daryl Delabbio said between DDAs, brownfields, smartzones and other tax capture or abatement programs the county loses use of $6 to $7 million dollars annually. He said there are 27 DDAs in Kent County. Delabbio was Rockford’s City Manager when Rockford created their DDA. He said the program has undeniably been good for the town, originally putting in the downtown clocks and other projects. The County cannot opt out of DDAs, but as they expire, the county can enter into new agreements where the County could have some say in tax dollar use, Delabbio explained. An example would be to exempt dollars voted upon for a specific use, such as correctional facilities or school millages. Floyd Havemeijer, Rockford business owner, said he was involved in the creation of Rockford’s DDA. “I was for it, but only if it would be for a limited time and expire,” he said. “It’s stealing from Peter to pay Paul. The schools and the county need the money so they have to raise taxes.” Delabbio said the law allows DDAs to exist forever, once created. Originally a county could opt out of DDAs if they desired, but in 1995 a law passed eliminating that option. “It’s up to them [city council],” Delabbio said. “If they want to extend it, there is nothing we can do about it.”