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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Madison Residents Concerned Proposal May Gentrify

Mariano Avila

A Rockford Construction proposal for development in the Madison neighborhood got concerned neighbors to City Council last night. 

Rockford Construction wrote an internal, 43-page proposal that LINC Community Revitalization posted on its website last week. That generated concerns of gentrification among residents of the Madison neighborhood. Among them Mary Van Poolen.

“So, when I heard about this plan and that it kind of sprung up without any warning or community involvement, it made me really nervous. And on top of that Colton and I are moving into this neighborhood and will be part of this change.”

Van Poolen and her fiancé Colton Credelle both showed up for the community meeting at LINC and the city commission meeting to voice their concerns about the document.

For their part, Rockford says the document is a proposal to attract investors, not a plan.

“As of right now it’s simply a proposal, it’s simply a group of investors looking at this area saying, hey, maybe, possibly, what do you think. Once we get things dialed in and we start seeing that it’s more of a reality vs just a hey, what do you think, then we’ll engage the community.”

That’s George Colvin, project superintendent for the very proposal being discussed. Rockford held a closed-door meeting with LINC and city leadership including Third-Ward Commissioner, David Allen. Allen said he only saw the document on Monday night, when the meeting happened, and that the city has communicated its preference in approach to Rockford.

“What we have informed Rockford is the plan that we used in the Noble Belknap with Grand Valley is a similar plan that we’d like to use on any major development that’s going to have an effect on communities, and that’s a strong community engagement piece.”

Credit Mariano Avila / WGVU
Madison and Crofton view West at potential development site for Rockford Construction

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
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