A "New" Rockford Area Council of 100

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

They've been passive for too long. Now, the Rockford Area Council of 100 says it has a whole new plan for economic development, one that will better help them reach their goal of creating 5,000 new jobs in our area by 2007.

It could've created 100 jobs for the Rockford area, but instead Lowe’s picked Janesville for a new millwork plant.

"We really don't have the kind of buildings that we need. We don't have the land that we need. We need to be better organized about that, so that's going to be our top priority," says Pamela Fox, vice chair for the Council of 100.

Clearly, business as usual just wasn't going to cut it for our region's largest development agency, not if they're going to create 5,000 new jobs by 2007.

"We need to do something different because what we're doing right now isn't working as well as we’d like," says council chairman Fritz Jacobi.

Now, task forces will target three specific areas; business attraction, business retention and expansion, and business climate services. Council of 100 board members will chair the committees, but other business leaders will be asked to serve on them.

"We need to tap into resident expertise that's here in our community. This is really the first time we're going to tap into that resource," says Council of 100 president Bob Levin.

The council is also hoping to increase funding by $400,000 and get new partners into the mix. Winnebago County, for example, doesn't currently contribute money, but council leaders say they may now help fund a case study.

"It compares us with other like communities and demonstrates our values over other like cities in the state or in the country," says Levin.

Instead of being passed over for projects like the Lowe’s millwork plant, the council hopes the Rockford area may soon land them.


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