Community Invited: Community Idea Exchange ~ 7/8/15

Wednesday July 8, 2015
200 Y Blvd.
Rockford IL 61107

Our community has defined what it wants to be through its vision and impact statements.

Please join us July 8th to brainstorm and exchange ideas on how we can become that top 25 community by 2025.

We need YOUR thoughts on how OUR COMMUNITY can BOLDLY leverage its strengths to do great things.

Volunteers Needed

Do you want to volunteer and help with this event? Click here

Transform Rockford Vision Statement

We are a top 25 community where our people are engaged, inspired and are leading successful and fulfilling lives.

Our community is recognized as one of the very best regions in which to live. Our residents are thriving and enjoying a superior quality of life.  We have transformed our community by embracing our diversity, fostering a crime-free culture, and delivering an excellent education to all our children.

We have an agile, innovative and strong economy built on the renaissance of North American manufacturing, logistics, agribusiness and our adjacency to urban centers, such as Chicago.  Our infrastructure is robust, our workforce is sought after, and our vibrant neighborhoods and cultural and recreational amenities draw people to locate in our region.

Questions? Please call the Transform Rockford office ~ 815-977-5840

Unity, Pride, Culture: Rockford City Market will stay open late for ‘Rock the Market’ night

ROCKFORD (WREX) – New this week, Rockford City Market will stay open until 10 p.m. this Friday for Rock the Market Night.

It helps kick off the 4th of July holiday weekend.

In addition to the normal vendors and festivities, two bands will be performing this week.

A folk rock band will perform the early set and epic electric, a pop rock cover band will then take the stage.

13 News will broadcast our 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts live from the market.


Economy & Jobs: About 1,500 people on hand for ribbon-cutting at Woodward in Loves Park

 Doug Grimm demonstrates a tilt table on the fuel metering unit assembly line for a tour group Wednesday, July 1, 2015, after the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Woodward

LOVES PARK — About 1,500 people gathered Wednesday to celebrate the new 450,000-square-foot Woodward Rock Cut Campus manufacturing and office complex at Harlem and Perryville roads.

Woodward employees from Loves Park and area business and community leaders were among the invited guests thanked by Sagar Patel, president of the company’s Aircraft Turbine Systems in Loves Park. Tom Gendron, chairman and CEO of Fort Collins, Colorado-based Woodward Inc., told the crowd that the company and facility “will be here for decades.” Woodward was founded in Rockford in 1870.

About 2,200 full-time employees will work at the company’s Rock Cut and Loves Park campuses by 2021. Woodward now employs about 1,500 people in Loves Park at the new facility and its location at 5001 N. Second St. The company will make aircraft fuel systems at the Rock Cut Campus.

Worldwide, Woodward makes and services energy control and optimization systems used in aircraft and vehicles, turbine and piston engines, and electrical power equipment for companies such as Caterpillar, Boeing and GE.

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Responsibility: United Way engages Rockford’s Midtown residents through neighborhood cleanup

ROCKFORD — United Way organizers, YMCA Achievers volunteers and Rockford police officers got to work today to help make the Midtown area cleaner for residents.

Datrevion Moss (left) and Travis Lane, 4, pick up trash Tuesday, June 30, 2015, while working with the United Way to clean up the Midtown neighborhood in Rockford. MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM

Datrevion Moss (left) and Travis Lane, 4, pick up trash Tuesday, June 30, 2015, while working with the United Way to clean up the Midtown neighborhood in Rockford. MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM

The Midtown cleanup is part of the United Way’s plan to improve two of the city’s most impoverished areas — Ellis Heights and Midtown — through their Strong Neighborhoods Initiative. Ellis Heights is on the city’s west side, home to the Rockford Housing Authority’s Fairgrounds Valley, and the Midtown neighborhood is south of SwedishAmerican Hospital.

“One of the things (that we found) is that people seem more comfortable in their neighborhood when they know their neighbors,” said Ashley Burks, community impact manager and marketing manager for United Way. “That’s why engagement is important.”

Participants agreed.

“I feel like I’m helping the community,” said 10-year-old volunteer Kendel Sherman.

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Unity, Pride, Culture: Rockford and of course ‘Mr. Fourth of July’ are getting fired up for fireworks

ROCKFORD — If you are looking forward to a good fireworks grand finale, how about a percussion of fireworks exploding every 1.5 seconds for three solid minutes?

Fireworks fill the sky Friday, July 4, 2014, over the Rock River in downtown Rockford. RRSTAR.COM FILE PHOTO

“We’ve beefed it up this year,” Joe “Mr. Fourth of July” Marino said. “Our finale will be outstanding. We want people walking away talking to themselves.”

Saturday will be Marino’s 52nd annual Independence Day bash in downtown Rockford. As always, Marino, 88, said this year’s show promises to be better than ever.

All told, some 4,200 fireworks shells will be set off by Frankfort-based Melrose Pyrotechnics Inc. on Saturday night on the west side of the Rock River just south of Davis Park. For those who can’t get out, the fireworks will be televised live on WTVO Channel 17/Fox 39, which will have a camera perched on top of the Register Star News Tower. The computer-fired fireworks display will be synchronized to patriotic music aired on B103 FM.

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Caring: Janene Stephenson and Positive Reflections ready to reach out to Rockford

Whether it’s giveaway baskets that need assembling for training camp, a football season celebration party that needs decorating or any task that helps get kids involved in sports who might otherwise be sitting at home, Rockford Park District organizers know where to turn.

Positive Reflections Community Outreach Team co-founder Janene Stephenson was one of the few who earned a 2014 Community Service Award for being a youth-programs partner and “an inspiration to our community.”

“Janene is what you would call a go-getter,” Youth Sports manager Lamont Jones says. “You can just know you can call her with the task you need accomplished and she is going to make sure their team of volunteers gets it done.”

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Economy & Jobs: Servicom opens new call center in Rockford

Servicom opened a new call center Monday on Executive Parkway. The business is expected to add another 300 jobs to the Rockford location and an additional 100 jobs at the Machesney Park Center in the next 12 months.


Officials say their goal is to give hope to people in Rockford who want stable employment.

“Today we are bringing a number of jobs to Rockford and those jobs we believe will give families new hope,” says JNET Communications CEO David Jefferson.

The building sat vacant for eight years before now. Jefferson says breathing life in to this building will help breathe life in to Rockford.

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Planning: My View: More game changers in store for downtown Rockford

On behalf of Joseph James Partners (JJP) and the Rock River Development Partnership (RRDP), we would like to express our gratitude to the Rockford City Council, the city administration, and the state of Illinois for their support of RRDP’s Indoor City Market project and JJP’s Hotel and North End roundabout projects.

Many great things are happening in and around downtown Rockford, and three additional projects can now be added to the list of game-changing features for our community. There will be a 76-room boutique hotel with restaurant and retail space in the former TREKK building, an Indoor City Market, and redevelopment of the southeast corner of the North End. We appreciate the City Council’s approval and look forward to successful implementation.

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Caring: Transforming parolees’ lives helps transform Rockford

Imagine if you were starting a new life and the sum total of your belongings were the clothes on your back.

Parolees in Illinois, individuals Lutheran Social Services of Illinois call “returning citizens,” are tasked with this challenge upon release from prison — rebuilding their lives with scant resources. The Re-entry Services for Returning Citizens program, part of Lutheran Social Services’ Prisoner and Family Ministry, helps formerly incarcerated individuals transform their lives, and in the process, contribute to transforming Rockford.

Our Re-entry Services for Returning Citizens program is based on restorative justice principles that help parolees become accountable and give back to their community — something they want very much to accomplish. Our multi-faceted program provides returning citizens with meaningful skills, training, and continuing services to become productive and responsible members of the Rockford community. The program works: We’ve even hired many of our clients.

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