New Businesses on Rockford's Northwest Side

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It's been voted the safest place in the world to store your money, and now it's moved into the northwest side of Rockford. Community leaders celebrated the grand opening of Fifth Third Bank on West Riverside Boulevard Thursday.

The bank is in front of Wal-Mart, and is one of the only full service banks on Rockford's west side. 43,000 residents live within a three mile radius of the bank. It will provide financial solutions such as foreign currency exchange, investment advice, and business banking.

The grand opening of Fifth Third Bank is a sign of many things to come. Community leaders say it's the start of a revitalization of Rockford's northwest side.

"We've been waiting on this for quite some time, and now that we see the positive development and the needs and resources there are other developers coming forward looking at this quadrant. They're saying yes, let's rethink this and revisit this to see it's a great possibility," alderwoman Ann Thompson said.

Ever since Wal-Mart opened on West Riverside Boulevard in Rockford, several developments have popped up around it. For instance, owners of a facility across the street are looking for tenants.

"Across the street we have some new development coming in there and we can't announce who it is yet," alderman Bill Timm said.

Behind Wal-Mart a real estate company is planning to build several new condominiums. Next door to Wal-Mart construction workers are building a strip mall that will hold 17 stores.

"I think these are needed services. Prior to Wal-Mart coming here people had to go to the east side to go shopping, now they can do their shopping here," Timm said.

Rockford's northwest side is changing, and now several businesses want to be a part of it.