Rockford prepares for future with engineer’s evaluation

The Rockford City Council discussed a number of items at its Feb. 26 meeting, including engineering services, lighting improvements and rental housing concerns.

The City of Rockford currently uses Stantec as its engineering firm, and has for several years (previously as Boonestroo). The council, with staff input, entertained discussion over evaluating engineering services for the city. The city does evaluate professional services in different years and, with some new projects on the horizon, has chosen this opportunity to review proposals by additional firms as well as Stantec.

Councilor Rick Martinson expressed disappointment in overruns on past projects and cited that exploring all the options in engineering services was becoming a higher priority in light of future work.

Mayor Renee Hafften asked that information be obtained about applicants regarding their records in “estimate-versus-cost” on other projects.

Further discussion led to a council consensus that it put out a Request for Proposal for engineering services for the city.

 

LIGHTING THINGS UP

Dennis Peterson, Rockford Public Works Supervisor, proposed that the council approve a proposal to replace existing outdoor lighting in the city with LED lighting. His proposal is to phase the new lighting in by sections in order to spread the costs of replacement over time. Phase one would take place at the fire station, the public works building and the south parking lot of the Lions Building.

Peterson explained that there were rebates available to defer some of the cost, and that just the savings in electricity would repay the replacement costs in 3 years. He added that the existing lights and hardware have to be replaced more frequently now, and that the improvement would also save in parts and time.

“We have to bite the bullet, pick a section and start replacing,” said Peterson. He added that outside parking areas would be changed out before any decorative lighting.

The park fund will help pay for this improvement.

The council supported the first phase unanimously, and no to exceed $7,700.

 

RENTAL HOUSING

At a previous meeting, the city’s administrator, Nancy Carswell, reported to the council that residents who wanted to discuss rental housing within the city had contacted her.

Carswell further reported that concerns over sub-standard housing were communicated by residents, and recommended that a committee be formed so that communications can continue. The city’s code was visited in 2005, and has ordinances that cover residential rentals, but Carswell suggested that the council may want to review it at this time.

Councilor Denise Kesanen told the council that she has visited rental units in the city that have repair issues and that much of the concerns being expressed were safety related.

Martinson said that a point to consider was that the city administrator was being contacted over the issue, so it required consideration.

The board vocally expressed support in a creating a group to address these issues, and in further research regarding city code and its effectiveness.

In additional news, Martinson told the board that efforts to erect a veteran’s memorial in Riverside Park were underway, and that interested parties were urged to visit www.therockfordlions.org for more information. He expects it to be a 3-to-5-year project.

Also, if you’re thinking about spring cleaning, you may want to mark your calendars for Saturday, May 4. The city will hold its annual cleanup that day, accepting various classifications of debris for a nominal fee.

The next regular meeting of the Rockford City Council is Tuesday, March 12, at 7 p.m. at the Rockford City Hall, 6031 Main St.

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