Rockford and Winnebago County Economy

By: Narina Crain
By: Narina Crain

New condominiums and businesses are taking over the northeast edge of Rockford's landscape. There are more than $240 million worth of new projects coming to Winnebago County.

"Fortunately we've had some wins- ethanol and Freedom Field. Lowe's - the county was in the middle of that, Beloit Memorial Hospital on the north end of the county. We've got four other food processors. These are wins, about 1,300, 1,400 jobs in the last year," said County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen.

While business is expanding and flourishing on Rockford's east side, there are rows of abandoned storefronts and homes a few miles west on State Street. Many residents in this neighborhood feel forgotten by the government.

"I've been here 30 years and they haven't accomplished anything. The streets are so bad," said Victoria Dupree, a W. State St. resident.

Local leaders spoke to the Rockford area economic development council on Tuesday about what needs to be done. Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey agrees that road projects will improve the appearance and economy of Rockford's run down neighborhoods.

Some residents on West State Street say the local government also needs to take responsibility for abandoned buildings.

Morrissey says we all need to take responsibility for improving our neighborhoods by reporting truant students, graffiti and crime.


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