ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The Forest City has gotten a bad rap for being a dangerous place to live, though many around town have tried to change that reputation with new events like First Fridays and Friday Night Flicks. There is a fight going on at city hall that could pull funding from certain groups that have been trying to boost the city's image.
Hundreds flocked to Davis Park this summer for Friday Night Flicks and several downtown businesses take part in First Fridays each month. The group that helped kick start those events, The Element, is in danger of fading away after the Rockford City Council took away The Element's entire $50,000 budget. Another $50,000 was also pulled from groups on Rockford’s west side that have helped reduce crime and boost business in neighborhoods. Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey vetoed the aldermen's efforts to remove this funding, a move supported by the director of The Element.
"We talk about building a calendar, it’s very important that things occur on a regular basis so people know every year you’re going to have a Pumpkin fest, every Friday night you'll have a music show at Mendelsohn Hall, and that’s called building a calendar and building rituals that people can plan around," says Ed McCullough, the director of The Element.
The Element is part of a larger network that gets funding from the city of Rockford. The mayor says he supports that network, just not the way these cuts were decided. This is only the second time during his 2 terms that Mayor Morrissey has vetoed an ordinance.