Council backs capital improvement plan
The Rockford City Council has approved the third largest Capital Improvement Program in the city’s history, including infrastructure investments and maintenance projects that will be implemented in the next five years.
Funding will come from a variety of sources including local capital sales tax, motor fuel taxes, and leveraged state and federal infrastructure dollars. No property tax dollars are used to fund this program.
• Neighborhood construction projects on nearly 550 miles of residential streets, costing $6.3 million. A total of $5 million will be divided equally among the wards while $1.3 million will be used strategically in areas that need it the most.
• Funds for improving pedestrian accommodations throughout the City by repairing or replacing damaged and deteriorated sidewalks, installing new intersection curb ramps at pedestrian crossings in accordance with current Americans with Disabilities Act standards, construction of new sidewalks in areas where gaps exist and improving the City’s multi-use path and trail system.
• The Community and Enhancement and Economic Development Program will see an increase in funding to $7.4 million to help promote commerce and economic growth throughout the entire City.
• Stormwater and Drainage work, including stabilizing the eroding banks of Keith Creek and saving funds for a looming large dam rehabilitation project.
New elementary school names for village
The new elementary school opening this August in Cherry Valley will be called Cherry Valley Elementary School after the Rockford School Board approved the designation recently.
Located at 6754 Armer Drive, the $15.7M, 86,000 square-foot school will open at the start of the 2018-19 school year. RPS 205 held a groundbreaking in June 2017, marking the first new school construction in RPS 205 since 1998.
The School Board and Administration asked for community feedback to name two elementary schools under construction. The K-5 school will serve students who now attend Cherry Valley, White Swan and Thompson elementary schools. Those three schools will close in June.
The current Cherry Valley Elementary School will be demolished and become property of the Village of Cherry Valley through an intergovernmental agreement. White Swan and Thompson elementary schools will be demolished and become the property of the Rockford Park District through an intergovernmental agreement.
A second new K-5 school will replace the existing Kishwaukee and Nelson elementary schools, which will close after the 2018-19 school year; the new building will open for the 2019-2020 school year.
The School Board has not yet approved a name for the second school. District leaders have approximately six months before a name must be selected. Initial community feedback has favored of the name Constance Lane, the first black teacher hired in RPS 205 who served as an educator and administrator for more than three decades.
Sinnissippi garden train exhibition extended
The popular Sinnissippi Station Model Garden Railroad Exhibit currently on display at Rockford Park District’s Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens has been extended to now run through Feb. 18.
“Sinnissippi Station has given families the opportunity to interact with the Conservatory in a whole new way, and has brought many to the Conservatory for the first time,” said Kelly Moore, Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens Facility Manager. “We are thrilled to extend the exhibit for patrons to create more memories and enjoy the tropics during the winter months. Seeing the trains weave through the natural plant material of the Conservatory is a not-to-be-missed experience,”
Thus far during the annual All Aglow exhibit and the model garden railroad exhibit, more than 6,900 visitors have been to the facility. Purchase of the exhibit was funded by the Nicholas Family Foundation, and is owned by Nicholas Conservatory, so it will return each year.
Joy of Gardening Feb. 17 at Highland
The 21st annual Joys of Gardening program will be by the University of Illinois Extension and the U of I Extension Master Gardeners on Feb. 17 at the Highland Community College Student Conference Center, 2998 W. Pearl City Road, Freeport.
Terra Brockman, Author of The Seasons on Henry’s Farm and Founder of The Land Connection will give the Keynote address: “The Joys and Challenges of Growing Fruits and Vegetables”. Brockman is the fourth of five generations of a central Illinois farm family, and a James-Beard-nominated author.
Following the keynote presentation will be a series of four breakout sessions.
For more information visit web.extension.illinois.edu/jsw or call (815) 235-4125. The registration cost for the program is $25 and includes lunch. Registration deadline is Feb. 9.
–Winnebago County News Briefs–