November 13, 2009 Rockford residents ‘tired of being negative’
Article by: Sean F. Driscoll, Rockford Register Star
ROCKFORD — Representatives of a Montreal consulting group are in town this week talking with residents as part of their initial steps to create a downtown revitalization action plan. NEWS ON DOWNTOWN ROCKFORD Nov. 12: Main Street loses mall, gains poles Nov. 7: New bridge ahead for Morgan Street Oct. 23: Funds sought for Rockford neighborhoods Oct. 21: Perry Creek extension might aid tollway bid Oct. 19: Details scarce on financing of Amerock fixes Oct. 16: $3M to help buy West State properties Oct. 11: MetroCentre chief says venue key SPECIAL REPORT Stories on the pedestrian mall’s demise
ROCKFORD — Representatives of a Montreal consulting group are in town this week talking with residents as part of their initial steps to create a downtown revitalization action plan.
Live Work Learn Play has been hired by the Rock River Development Partnership, headed by SupplyCore CEO Peter Provenzano, to fuel a rebirth of Rockford’s riverfront and older neighborhoods.
The company has talked to more than 100 people this week as part of its first round of information gathering, said Max Reim, partner and principal in Live Work Learn Play.
Reim, speaking today to the Rockford Register Star’s Editorial Board, said several commonalities have emerged in interviews so far. People have extolled Rockford’s attributes, including its rivers, parks, colleges and location, but they say they need more reasons to reinvest in their civic pride.
“People said across the board, ‘We’re tired of being negative. We want to be positive. We want to be happy because we truly love Rockford, but we want to be in love with Rockford again,’ ” he said.
Reim also said people showed strong support to revitalize downtown, even if they didn’t live in, work in or visit the area.
”(They told us) if we don’t have a healthy heart, we’re afraid the body’s going to die,” he said.
Once a master plan to revive downtown and other areas is drawn, the development partnership would establish an investment fund to aid redevelopment projects.
The agency also would advise city officials how to use $11.5 million in state funding Rockford will receive to entice riverfront development.
The $200,000 study is being funded by a hodgepodge of entities.
The Rockford Housing Authority and Rockford Area Economic Development Council have each kicked in $75,000. The Rockford Local Development Corp. pledged $10,000, and the Rockford Park District is contributing clerical support.
The Greater Rockford Airport Authority Board is considering its own $75,000 contribution but has not approved the expense yet.