Transform Rockford

Are we there yet?

When Transform Rockford began it’s quest for community improvement the stated goal was top 25 by 2025.

That was a great slogan, but community improvement is a continuing process. What good is it to be top 25 by 2025 if in 2026 you’re No. 300?

There are many ways to measure a community’s success. In some ways Rockford already is a top tier community.

The latest example is from the Wall Street Journal/ Emerging Housing Markets Index. Rockford ranks 13th. Read Jim Hagerty’s story on here.

Surveys are great conversation starters and can help focus the work to make things better.  The Rockford Register Star published special sections about Transform Rockford’s progress a decade ago. 

An editorial that appeared in the section published May 20, 2014 laid it out well.

“We included (polls/surveys)— as imperfect as they are — because that’s all many people know about Rockford. People thinking of moving to Rockford see those polls and go elsewhere. …

“Before we can fix what ails us, we’ve got to know the symptoms. Transform Rockford is in the process of determining the diagnosis, and then the course of treatment to put Rockford on the road to good health — physically, mentally, spiritually, economically and culturally.” …

“That’s why we hope that our good friend Ald. Tim Durkee, R-1, takes the Transform Rockford section he threw in the wastebasket at Monday night’s City Council meeting and gives it another read. Durkee went on a six-minute rant against the story about the bad surveys, saying that they’re baloney and that he’s not going to read anything like that anymore.

“Our hope is that Durkee, a respected physician and a diligent alderman in political life, will rethink his position on our inclusion of the ‘bad lists’ story. We were saying — and we will say it again — that to know how to improve our community, we’ve got to know what’s wrong, why it’s wrong, what needs to be done to make things right, and how we get to our ultimate goal of making Rockford a Top 25 city.”

Yes, there’s a lot of work to do, but Rockford is much better today than it was in 2014. Residents know what’s wrong and there are plenty of folks working to fix what ails us.

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