A struggling Rockford community got a welcome new neighbor Thursday as city officials turned the site of a tragedy into a Neighborhood Resource Center.
This Irving Avenue House was home to several violent acts including the murder of 15-year-old Dominque Graham early this year.
"It's calmed down a little since the murder but the area still needs some help," said Darrel Scott, neighborhood resident.
And now help has arrived. City officials bought the house, demolished it and build a new home for the Neighborhood Resource Center in its place.
"Hopefully it sends a message to the people in that neighborhood that we care about them and want to protect the residents a vast majority who are decent law abiding people," said Doug Scott, mayor of Rockford.
Empty alcohol bottles had served as a memorial to those who lost their lives at this Irving Avenue location, but now there's a greater memorial in the Neighborhood Resource Center, a program that aims to prevent future tragedies.
"He was a good friend of mine. I miss him. I think it's good what they've done. It was a broken down house and now it's all fixed up," said Delaneo Love, Dominque's friend.
While the pain of Dominque's death is still fresh for his friends and family, they say the new center offers hope.
The Neighborhood Resource Center offers afterschool programs, meet and eat events for senior citizens and job programs to help fathers pay child support.