Million Dollar Marketing Plan

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More than $1 million in federal funds will be heading to the stateline for a new marketing project. It's a project that stateline leaders say will bring new jobs, new business and new visitors to our area.

Work or play, the stateline is the place to be; it's the message that will drive a new marketing campaign, one of the largest ever for our area.

"Whatever it takes to cause more people to come to town, spend nights in our hotels and to see our attractions," says Greater Rockford Airport Director Bob O’Brien.

Cong. Don Manzullo announced that 1.5 million federal dollars will be awarded for the project.

The Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau will now partner with the Economic Development Council and the Greater Rockford Airport to get the word out about Rockford.

"It could include advertising in the Chicago area through billboards or radio or television ads; we really need to look at all the options right now," says John Groh of the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Marketing will center on the airport and will target the 2.5 million people who live within 60 minutes of RFD.

"When you become known as a transportation center, not only for packages but for people, that draws people to Rockford for air passenger service and for businesses who rely on use of transportation," says Cong. Don Manzullo.

Manzullo says attractions like Jane the Dinosaur will help attract visitors as well. Currently tourism generates $232 million for our area and provides 2,700 jobs.

O’Brien says this campaign will help those numbers skyrocket.

"Think big, think really, really big because we intend to produce quantifiable results. We intend to let congressmen know how thankful we are and that we're worthy of additional help in the future," says O’Brien.

This is expected to be a big week for the Greater Rockford Airport. The airport board will vote on a proposal for a new airline at RFD Wednesday. The vote was supposed to be Monday, but O'Brien said he didn't want to overshadow the announcement of this marketing grant, a grant he believes will lead to more major announcements in the future.