Rockford’s Not-So-Hidden Potential

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Photo provided by Ellie Cummings ('19)

A Belvidere North student heads into one of Rockford’s local businesses.

Reilly Signor, Reporter

     When most people think of Rockford, they think of the fact that it’s been named one of the most dangerous cities in the nation — multiple times. Though, times are changing and so is Rockford.

     In the last few years, $250 million has been invested into the Rockford Public Schools for renovations over a ten year time frame. As of now, the project is 50% complete; with major additions/renovations to Auburn, Guilford, and East High Schools. Most of the changes involved classrooms, libraries, field houses and extra rooms.

     Another  result of the public’s effort is that Rockford was the first city in the nation to effectively end homelessness among local veterans. This means that within one month of discovering a homeless veteran, that person is provided with permanent housing, unless they choose otherwise.

     $320 million was invested into the region alone in 2014. $5.5 million of that went towards public park repairs and $21 million of that went towards remodelling the Ingersoll building to make it an indoor sports park; providing around 200 construction and permanent jobs through the Rockford Park District.

     Big companies throughout the nation are noticing these changes and the potential Rockford has, and are expanding their businesses to the area. The AAR Corp, FedEx and Meijer are just a few of the many companies that branched out to the Rockford area in 2014.

     Of course, Rockford wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for the unique small businesses that make up the area. Stores like Culture Shock, CD Source, Rockford Art Museum, Runner’s Image and Minglewood Boutique can all be found in the downtown area, along with many others, and set a great example of how Rockford isn’t too bad after all.

      “I enjoy shopping in Rockford because I love stores like Rockford Art Deli and Culture Shock. I enjoy hanging out in a fun store and finding cool and fun items that are unique to where I live,” said Ellie Cummings (‘19).

     In the end, whether you like Rockford or not, there’s no denying the change that’s happening and the great things going on in this city. Although there still is a long way to go, the future of Rockford is very bright.