UPDATE: Transform Rockford's First Meeting

By: Shannon Smith; Jorge Rodas; Mike Garrigan
By: Shannon Smith; Jorge Rodas; Mike Garrigan
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Transform Rockford’s first meeting is tomorrow, starting at 5:30 at the Coronado Theater. We’ll have extended coverage of the public forum tomorrow. Our coverage will begin on 23 News at 5, in addition on 23 News at 6 we’ll air the opening comments by Tom Gendron in its entirety. You can see the whole event LIVE on Antenna TV 23.2 and online at wifr.com.
 

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Many Stateline business leaders feel now is a time for change. That’s why they’ve put their money behind an effort called transform Rockford. Tonight is the group’s first big event at the Coronado.

It’s called the engagement summit and the leaders of Transform Rockford are hoping to fill the Coronado, not just with business leaders but also with Rockford residents who have ideas bout the best way to go about changing the image of their city and region. Tonight’s summit is broken down into four categories. The case for change, a process overview, shared values and engagement. Woodward CEO Tom Gendron will kick things off at 6 p.m.


Transform Rockford. It’s the name of a new group that wants to make major changes to the Rockford area. They’re looking to build a new community effort to turn around our negative image and make us all proud of this town. Tonight we’re getting our first look at a major, open-to-the-public gather that will take place tomorrow night at the Coronado.

“Rockford clearly has a very proud history, it was a manufacturing capital of the world and a top city in Illinois and even in the nation.”

It’s that reputation and sense of pride Scott Anderson wants to bring back to the Forest City through “Transform Rockford”, a new initiative led by Woodward CEO Tom Gendron. Anderson says it’s probably not what any of us want it to be, so Transform Rockford is about the community deciding what it is we want to be.

The group hopes to create that vision during Thursday’s meeting, a process that could take years to see results. Bobbie Holzwarth says it’s not easy to pinpoint every problem in the area, however she says it’s important to hear everyone’s opinion.

“We want to call them out together to show the community that the current state really is a problem,” said Holzwarth.

A problem, and city, Anderson says is worth fixing.

A big part of this initiative is gathering support from the public. Part of Transform Rockford’s goal is to change the mindset of people living in the city and they admit, it’s going to take all hands on deck to see this vision come to fruition.

A team of presenters will be going over a draft-list of shared values that they hope the public will help them finalize. It’s all tentative, things like respecting ourselves and caring for others, values that can serve as a motto the city can then stand behind while the initiative moves forward.

There’s also a group called the engagement team that will explain to folks, who needs to get involved in order for Rockford to get better.

"We all want great things out of our community. We all want our community to be safe and successful for our kids and our future generations, and I think going through this process we're going to really get to know one another at all various levels,” said Jay Sandine with the Rockford Park District.

These are grand ideas and lofty goals but the group of teams getting ready to present tomorrow say they feel this movement is different because of the amount of support it has out of the gate.


ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Between crime and our unemployment rate, Rockford has made a few miserable lists. Now, a local group wants to change our reputation by transforming the area. Organizers say, they need our help.

“Transform Rockford” is a new initiative by a group of local businessmen who want to bring pride back to our city. So they’re holding a special meeting Thursday. It’s open to the public starting at 5:30 at the Coronado Theater. Speakers will discuss key issues in the Forest City and we’re invited to give our ideas on how we can make Rockford a better place.

We’ll have extended coverage of the public forum on Thursday and we’ll be streaming the event live from our web-channel.


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