Revitalizing Downtown

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What does your dream neighborhood look like? That's the question developers posed tonight to the residents of North Main Street.
The stretch of North Main from Reynolds Street to West Riverside is due for a makeover. The question is how to go about revitalizing the area.
With ideas as simple as adding coffee shops or book stores, North Main residents are taking a hand in shaping their community. They shared their ideas at a public workshop tonight with developers from the Hitchcock Design Group and city representatives.
This is just a first step in the project meant to enhance the appearance and utility of the neighborhood, making it a better place to live.
"My vision would be some unique, small businesses, whether it be a bakery, or a hardware store or something small that is unique that they can't find anywhere else in Rockford," says area resident Wayne Spitzer.
There is no date set yet to begin construction, nor any dollar amount on how much such a large scale project would cost.
North Main Street isn't the only place headed for an upgrade. Developers across town shared a vision for the Morgan Street Bridge tonight as well.
"More than just a bridge" is the slogan for the long-awaited Morgan Street project. Developers there plan to widen Morgan Street to four lanes from Main Street to College and Seminary. Then move to three lanes from there to Kishwaukee Street.
The plan would cost around $35 million. Eighty percent would be federally funded. The rest, along with many other projects, relies on a proposed one percent sales tax increase.
"It's important that we fix our infrastructure and our roads and our lighting along South Main, North Main, West State, Kishwaukee, all these projects that we have that really need to move forward," says Alderman Doug Mark (R-3).
The Morgan Street Bridge project has been in the works since 2001. Developers hope to finish construction by 2012.