As the summer came to a close, so did Rockford's west side driver's license facility. But now, as we first told you Tuesday night, it's coming back.
When the Auburn Street and Central Avenue location closed in July, supporters gathered hundreds of signatures on a petition to reverse what had happened. Their message got through to Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.
Sometime after the first of next year, we'll see a new driver's facility right at 3214 Auburn Street. The location shares a wall with the new Dollar General, where Gray's IGA used to be, near Auburn and Avon Street. That's just blocks away from the old location.
It'll be an "express facility", meaning if you need to renew your state ID or driver's license, get your vision checked, or register to vote this will be the place to go. Otherwise you'll have to visit the East State Street office or the newest location at I-39 and Baxter Road.
The Secretary of State's office has a 10 year lease on this building, at $40,000 a year. The old facility was $50,000, but bigger. According to Director of Downstate Drivers' Services Michael Mayer, it closed because negotiations fell a part with the landlord.
"We've shifted funds around as far as the budget is concerned," Mayer says. "We're not going to be utilizing any new manpower when we're looking at this. We're going to be using current folks that are at facilities today we'll just be transferring those to this facility."
Mayer says they plan to bring in three full-time employees, a manager, and 2 or 3 part-timers.
"This is a great feeling simply because so many residents don't have the transportation to go other places. This way they can come and get their state I.D., voter's registration, this is phenomenal," says Rockford resident Catherine Brown.
The facility still needs some remodeling before the doors can open.
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