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Rockford road program input at forum mostly positive

Tuesday, February 15, 2011  
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By Corina Curry
Posted Feb 15, 2011 @ 04:49 PM
Last update Feb 17, 2011 @ 12:44 AM

Neighbors and business leaders of the Miracle Mile were pleased, for the most part, with what they heard at an informational meeting on the city’s road program tonight.

Several residents and business types said they support what the city is doing with its public infrastructure sales tax and feel it is being a good steward of the funds.

The Miracle Mile Business Association organized the meeting for its members and area residents.

Mayor Larry Morrissey, Public Works Director Tim Hanson and Patrick Zuroske, superintendent of infrastructure and engineering, gave a presentation and answered questions from the few dozen people who attended.

Most of the interest from the audience centered on the city’s plans for particular roads, how much money the city’s 1 percentage-point sales tax for roads has generated and what’s in the pipeline for the years to come.

While the city leaders did get some criticism regarding the proposed North Main and Auburn roundabout, they got praise as well.

"I think it was very positive,” said Ken Bennett as he left the meeting. Bennett owns a building in the Miracle Mile. "They showed the money was spent right. I appreciate the information they shared about compounding the state funding and eliminating debt.”

Helen and Joel Finegan live in the 14th Ward but came to the 10th Ward meeting because they said they were interested in what the city was doing to try to improve all areas.

"I’m very impressed with the mayor’s dedication to redevelopment,” Joel Finegan said. "He really believes in the area.”

The Miracle Mile is roughly the area north and south of East State Street from SwedishAmerican Hospital to Rockford College.

The city passed a 1 percentage-point sales tax for public infrastructure in 2007 and is using the money to fix and expand roads. The tax expires in 2012, and city leaders are trying to drum up support for an extension. A referendum to extend the tax will be on the April 5 ballot.

Association President Tom Baudhuin said he felt the city did a good job presenting what it’s done and what it plans to do.

"I think they articulated excellently the arguments to sustain the 1 percent tax,” Baudhuin said.

Baudhuin said the association is not endorsing the referendum but wants its members and neighbors to be able to make an informed decision on election day.

This story appeared at on February 15, 2011.

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