Reviving Downtown Rockford

By: Tina Stein, Lauren Kravets
By: Tina Stein, Lauren Kravets

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Downtown Rockford is starting to turn around. New businesses are moving in and a lot of families are coming down to hang out.

Sometimes we have a bad tendency to not appreciate things that are right in front of us, but downtown is getting more fun by the week.

Even Chicago newspapers have been doing features on all that the city has to offer.

New businesses have recently moved in and more are on the way. Including a wood fire pizza joint.

A new restaurant called "Vintage at 501" is getting ready to open in the 500 block of E. State St. It's a casual place with American-style food.

We also have our riverfront downtown and the new Prairie Street Brewhouse to compliment it. There will be restaurant space, retail and lofts.

John Groh with the RACVB tells us existing establishments are also expanding.

"The museum campus has expanded, the BMO Harris Bank Center has undergone a renovation, the federal courthouse opened within the last year, both public and private sectors have been investing in downtown and I think that's having a positive effect and bringing more people down here."

All the downtown activity is creating more business for existing restaurants.

Most of you have heard of the District.. which has been open for nearly three months now.

Managers say they're usually busy and events like city market only help.

And they're expecting more people when the band "Fuel" performs on Tuesday.

Octane,which has been downtown for quite some time is also seeing a spike in customers.

Alex Gaspar, a Rockford resident, says "I think that there's a lot of people that are really doing a lot to help improve our little downtown area. There's a lot of great local businesses, both eateries and boutique-y kinds of stores and stuff like that. "

Don't forget about the 'Block 5' festival that kicks off tomorrow. That's where people can walk the streets in the 500 block of E. State Street, have some drinks, and listen to bands.


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