Wolverine World Wide

Think Outside the Box

February 19, 2009 // 0 Comments

Dear Editor, Many thanks to Mike McIntosh for his words of wisdom in the Rockford Squire regarding changes near the downtown area of Rockford with the closing of the tannery and possible rezoning of a portion of north Main Street. The Rockford Planning Commission certainly has many tough decisions to make as it shapes the future of our fair city. My husband and I have lived close to downtown Rockford for 34 years. We have raised our children in Rockford and have always loved its small-town ambiance. Our children now walk their children through the city, on the trails, and to the shops in town. We absolutely love Rockford and have always tried to support the merchants of Rockford. I know that Planning Commission will do its best to ensure that Rockford will maintain its small-town character as it moves into the 21st century. It appears at times that the merchants and the residents often do not see eye-to-eye on the future development of the area near downtown Rockford. I find this curious; and I suspect that these conflicting desires weigh heavily on the minds of those on the Planning Commission. Mr. McIntosh is correct that now is the opportune time for the Planning Commission to explore all the options and to think “outside the box” as it develops a vision for the future of Rockford. I support Mr. McIntosh’s request that the Planning Commission take the time to carefully review the Master Plan and examine the opportunities available, since decisions made now will shape the future of our town. Sincerely, Linda Goossen

Rockford Tannery Demise

February 19, 2009 // 0 Comments

Dear Mr. Young, Following your comments on January 29, 2009, in the Rockford Squire Newspaper (http://www.rockfordsquire.com), I write to express my condolences on the demise of the Rockford Tannery. While the closure of the tannery most directly impacts your community, it also has consequences for local economies beyond the borders of the United States. Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, I currently live in the adjacent sub/urban community of Maple Ridge. In Vancouver, as in many other “global cities,” the selling of “place” has been a key value of economic restructuring. Successful marketing of space aimed at attracting capital reassures local communities. Yet, Canadian census data and qualitative surveys verify what we, at the community level, intuitively realize, the tourist economy has lead to a rising pool of low income deskilled labor who are being directed towards credit to purchase consumables. The absence of real industries and stable livable wages means that municipalities cannot accrue sufficient revenue to maintain or improve public programs. Ultimately, the decision to relocate is transformed into a political argument surrounding the right to quality of life. Recent events confirm what previous data has indicated: Flexible capital does not necessarily provide new opportunities in old industrial areas. An example of this follows research of the Canadian footwear manufacturing sector. Beginning in the early part of the 1980s, federal policy trends indicated support of dumping action by overseas competitors. Ultimately, cheap imports forced most Canadian footwear manufacturing offshore, save for a few specialized firms. Trade policies coincided with decisions by provincial education ministries to close all shoe repair and shoe making technical programs. Such policies guaranteed that any efforts to revive Canada’s industry in the future (an industry that had existed for some 400 years in Canada), would be unlikely even if the global economy collapsed. Simply put, it was knowledge and skills that were eliminated. In the immediate, your concern over the closure of the tannery is the financial and social well-being of your community. I would add, the closure of the tannery is a prescriptive directed against the domestic manufacturing of essential goods. The absence of knowledge and reliance on foreign supply make any future efforts to rekindle sustainable manufacturing economies difficult. Closer to home, the loss of this […]

An Open Letter to the City of Rockford from City Manager Michael F. Young

January 29, 2009 // 0 Comments

On Thursday, January 8, 2009, Wolverine World Wide (WWW) announced the pending closing of their downtown tannery facility. Since that time, I have been working with WWW to identify the many issues that will be facing our community as the tannery operations are phased out. Initially, the closing of the tannery will reduce the City’s revenue within the sewer fund by approximately 25%. The sewer fund is operated as a separate “enterprise fund,” which relies on sewer rates and charges to fund operation and maintenance of the sewer collection system, lift stations and the newly constructed PARCC Side Wastewater Treatment Plant. We have developed a rate study model showing the rate impact of the tannery closing. I cannot put it any other way but to say that the impact is staggering. According to the preliminary model, it is expected that once the tannery operations are fully phased out that we will need to increase rates by approximately 25%. This equates to approximately $10 per month for the average residential customer. The budget that was built includes very little investment ($50,000) for capital improvements related to the sewer system and the elimination of one (1) position. These numbers are still very preliminary and we will continue to work closely with WWW to identify options for reducing this financial hardship. From a property tax standpoint, our preliminary numbers would indicate that the City could lose approximately $105,000 in property tax revenue. There are many variables that go into this analysis such as the timing for the potential redevelopment of WWW’s downtown campus. The impact on property taxes cannot be fully determined until we have a detailed schedule identifying the time frame for demolition of the existing buildings on site. I believe that the negative impact on property taxes will be temporary and ultimately we will see complete redevelopment of the tannery property and adjoining facilities into an extension of our downtown business district. I will continue to keep our residents and business owners apprised of the latest developments through periodic postings on our web page and through my blog. Of course, if any one has questions regarding the impact on our community as a result of the tannery closing, please do not hesitate to contact me at […]

WWW 125th party to give $25,000 to winners

October 2, 2008 // 0 Comments

Rockford’s anniversary event will be held at the Rockford Footwear Depot, 235 N. Main, Rockford from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will include free hotdogs and popcorn, a live radio remote from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and registration for prizes. Sweepstakes prizes include 50-inch plasma HDTVs, Garmin GPS systems, Shimano baitcasting rod and reel combos, Carson Falcon binoculars, Yakima racks, iPOD shuffles with iTUNES gift cards and Wolverine footwear and apparel prizes. For more than a century, Wolverine has been relentless in its pursuit of providing comfortable and innovative footwear, apparel and gear for consumers. Founder G.A. Krause and his sons built a shoe factory shortly after organizing the Rogue Electric Light and Power Company in Rockford, Michigan. In 1903, quality craftsmen made 300 pairs of tough, dependable work shoes each day in the shoe factory, setting the stage for what would become a standard of excellence in footwear. In 1908, Wolverine opened a tannery next to their shoe factory, supplying the factory with durable leathers. In 1914, the Wolverine brand name was created from the type of tough, durable Wolverine horsehide leather used for its popular “1,000 mile boot.” In 2008, Wolverine will celebrate its 125th anniversary in many ways. Inspired by the company heritage and the first Wolverine boot ever made, the No. 1883 Collection will debut and will consist a series of boots and shoes featuring distressed leathers and vintage design details In conjunction with its 125th anniversary, Wolverine will be holding a sweepstakes giving away cash and product during the Fall of 2008. Entry forms and information will be featured at points of sale in retailers nationwide. Wolverine’s Products and Technologies, Wolverine’s commitment to creating comfortable and quality footwear remains just as strong today as when the company began 125 years ago. In addition to Wolverine’s heritage of creating durable work footwear, Wolverine is also known for its hunting and rugged outdoor footwear. Over the years, Wolverine has been known as an industry leader in creating revolutionary comfort technologies. In 2008, Wolverine was awarded the Plus Award, a footwear trade industry award for excellence in design in the work footwear category, continuing its nine-year tenure as the leading producer of work boots in the industry. Wolverine has teamed up […]

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