Weeding out problems, seeding in hope and empowering a community is the goal of the Weed and Seed program, and Wednesday the Ellis Heights neighborhood on Rockford's west side was officially designated a Weed and Seed area by the federal government.
Applying for official designation is an extremely competitive process. Now that the city has recognition, the Police Department can apply for grant money.
The city could receive nearly $1 million over a five-year period to fight crime, drugs and gang activity in Ellis Heights neighborhood. The Weed and Seed area is bordered by Preston to the south, School Street to the north, Kilburn to the east and Johnston to the west.
"I think the philosophy of Weed and Seed is something that we're continuing to push every day, and the recognition we've received now allows us to put additional emphasis in this targeted area, where as the chief said, was one of our worst areas in the whole city," says Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey.
The city should find out about the grant in the next four to six weeks. The Weed and Seed approach emphasizes four principles: aggressive law enforcement, community policing, crime prevention and treatment services, and neighborhood revitalization efforts.