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Rock Falls, Surf Air still working out details of network sale

ROCK FALLS – A move by the city of Rock Falls to sell a portion of the fiberoptic network to Surf Air Wireless is on hold, for now.

The city and Surf Air announced on Sept. 1 a collaboration to buildout the fibernet broadband to residents and businesses in the city, with Surf paying the city $2.25 million and planning to start work in the fall of 2020.

At the Sept. 1 meeting, the City Council had a first reading on an ordinance authorizing the sale, and the item was up for a second reading and adoption on Tuesday's agenda, but was pulled.

"We're still negotiating a few items which are going to involve things being added to the tons of paperwork that are already done," Mayor Bill Wescott said. "Rather than have it not ready in the whole text for a vote, we chose to pull them off tonight."

The issue will be revisited at the council's next meeting, which is slated for Oct. 6.

The council also approved a project to put a roof on the amphitheater at RB&W Riverfront Park. The project is expected to cost $106,474 with Midwest Building and Composting to have it completed by Dec. 1.

The council also abolished the position of city collector. Following the death of City Clerk Eric Arduini last year, many of the job duties were reorganized, with then-deputy clerk Michelle Conklin becoming the business supervisor, taking on many of the things the collector had done.

Council members also voted to apply for Local Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Support (CURE) Program funds, which could reimburse the city for some money lost due to COVID-19.

The city also agreed to purchase property on West First Street near the former Micro Industries building. With the city looking for ways to redevelop that site, it needs to apply for grants to handle some of the environmental cleanup, and the sale of that adjacent property is contingent on those grants.

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