The Rockford City Council, at its June 24 meeting, discussed moving forward on a mall-related project.
The city purchased the Rockford Mall on Highway 55 earlier this year and has plans to convert a portion of it into an event center and city offices.
Several years ago, the city’s post office was run out of a building on the southwest corner of the mall’s parking area. It has since moved its operations to the actual mall building. One one of the next phases in the mall project is improving the exterior of the building, and demolition of the old postal building is slated.
City Administrator Dan Madsen presented four bids he received for the demolition work to the council; his objective, he said, was to help move the project forward despite the potential of continued challenging weather conditions.
The council was in agreement that the building should be razed as soon as weather permits and discussed the bids. The council voted 4-0 to hire Veit for this job at an estimated $12,900. The bid, the council agreed, appeared to be all inclusive and more comprehensive than those of the other bidders.
Staff relayed that discussions with companies that performed inspections on the building in the past resulted in an understanding that asbestos is in the glue holding the tile to the floor. Staff went out for bids under the assumption that there is asbestos that will require additional testing and abatement.
City staff will fill in holes and remove the sidewalk once the site is cleared.
DECLARATION OF LOCAL EMERGENCIES
Madsen explained an additional agenda item approved at the start of meeting.
He told the council that state statute provides authorization for cities experiencing catastrophic flooding to apply for Federal Emergency Management Authority funds in a more efficient, and timely, manner in order to protect the community during, and immediately following, an emergency event. To do this, a Local State of Emergency must be declared by resolution.
Approving the resolution, Madsen continued, does not obligate the city to “act, apply or accept any funding. If, however, the city’s levee breaks or we have a second rain event, the city would be positioned to apply for and hopefully secure both state and federal funding to cover or offset the expenses from that event and may also allow the city to recover the labor and expense already incurred in preparing for this flood event.”
Madsen added that infrastructure damage not immediately evident, like sinkholes, could be eligible for this funding and reiterated that the city may not find the need to apply to FEMA barring additional heavy water but would have the opportunity to do so if the need arose.
The council passed the proposed resolution declaring a local state of emergency for the city of Rockford and authorizing staff to act as necessary on behalf of the city and to enact emergency plans if necessary until a time the river measurement in the affected area is at the minor flooding stage of 10 feet or below or until a time the council determines there is no threat.
City staff and the Rockford Fire Department were recognized by Madsen and applauded by the council for its participation and efforts in regard to the rain, river and water issues. The Movie in the Park event scheduled for June 27 was canceled due to the wet conditions of Riverside Park and will be rescheduled.
The next regular meeting of the Rockford City Council is 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 8, at the Rockford City Hall, 6301 Main St.