by Bob Fitzgerald
As sales manager for The Post I sometimes find myself learning about things before they actually happen. One example is starting to pick up a full head of steam. Due to the economy, there have been record numbers of foreclosures in northern Kent County. It seems the amount of taxes coming in from homeowners has dropped significantly and that has really caused problems in two of the best known towns in the area—Rockford and Cedar Springs. The rumor has begun to circulate that the two cities are in talks to combine into one. Could it be?
From what we have been told it may happen—Rockford and Cedar Springs may soon become one. City officials in both municipalities confirmed there have been many meetings behind closed doors about the two cities merging. One source said that the Rockford and Cedar Springs police departments would combine into one department and be relocated in a new building to be built on 14 Mile Road next to the movie theater. That merger alone would save close to $1 million for the cities.
“The closing of the Rockford court house would not have happened if we had been one,” said a judge who asked not to be named.
Discussions are also underway to decide what the name of the city would be. Rockford Springs or Cedar Rock are two names that have been mentioned. We even saw preliminary drawings for a new mascot to represent the cities—a hush puppy wearing red flannels with the drop seat unsnapped.
“I’ve always wondered what it would be like to wear red flannels,” said a Rockford councilor.
We also found out that Sand Lake has also been a part of the discussions and may want to be included in the merger of Rockford and Cedar Springs. “Cedar Rock Lake has a nice, affluent ring to it,” said one Village official. “I can see that name alone bringing in big business and new development. Of course, we might have to create a lake with the same name so people aren’t always asking, ‘Where’s the lake?’” he noted.
He also added that if Sand Lake becomes part of the merger, they wouldn’t have to worry anymore about being de-villaged. “We’d get the respect we deserve,” he said.
The school officials we talked with said the school systems would remain unchanged except for the possibility of having the busing done by a private company. Or, they may just cancel busing all together. “We tried that once in the 1980s and it worked pretty good,” recalled one former school bus driver.
The municipalities are scheduled to discuss the merger at a joint meeting on Friday, April 1.