Really, playing the race card, Ald. Bill Rose and Rockford Area Citizens for Transparent and Accountable Government? And against Rock Valley College? You should be ashamed!
RVC, responding to the "Everything Downtown or Nothing" crowd, put a downtown campus in the Rockford News Tower within easy reach of black, brown, white and everyone in the city.
The college has long had tutoring, English as a second language and remedial classes so that all disadvantaged students can catch up and grab hold of the American dream.
RVC's main campus on North Mulford Road is easily accessible by bus or car. The college also offers apprentice programs where minorities are encouraged to apply and adult education and non-degree programs leading to jobs at area high schools.
Now, the RACTAG group objects to the RVC request for proposals for a location and building of a new technology center. The group calls the language in the request tantamount to "redlining," a practice from before the 1970s where realtors would only sell homes for minorities in ghettos and banks would not loan to minorities. It was bad.
RACTAG and many Rockford City officials and "downtownistas" first objected when RVC pulled out of a plan to locate the tech center in the decaying Barber Colman Village property on South Main Street. College officials said the project had gotten too expensive and the lining up of the financing for the project had taken too long.
Next the group objected when an RVC study of using the rest of the News Tower for the tech center proved it was too costly to remodel the building. The group tried to force the college to use the building.
Now RVC has sent out the request for proposals. That is not racist! It's just good business sense. In business, you advertise for bids and for parcels of land which make the most sense for a building.
The RVC board has not chosen a location for the tech center. Maybe it will be West State and Meridian Road on the West Side. Maybe it will be on S. Main Street after all. Maybe it will be North Main by the old Singer Zone Center. Maybe it will be on the East side. Maybe it will be by the airport. Maybe it will be downtown.
We just don't know.
Until then, RACTAG should just sit down and shut up!
If I was the RVC board, I would vote to shelve the whole tech center idea for now because of the Coronavirus pandemic and the economic recession which is bound to come.
— Steve Newton, Rockford