Next time you find yourself in a group of people complaining about Rockford — and especially if they’re lamenting a perceived lack of engagement in civic life by those who live here — stop the conversation right there.
You need to tell them they’ve got Rockford wrong. To clinch the argument, just point to Rockford Sharefest, which is nothing so much as a festival of community building, collaboration and, yes, engaged citizenship.
The 2017 version of Sharefest wrapped up last weekend after nine days spent working to get Levings Lake Park back in shape. All told, volunteers worked nearly 3,000 four-hour shifts, making environmental improvements and playground updates, adding an amphitheater and expanding the popular West Rock Wake Park.
Sharefest has been doing this kind of work for 11 years now, making physical improvements to schools and parks and the downtown streetscape. The idea is to tackle high-impact projects that require lots of volunteer heads, hearts and hands.