West State Street Corridor Undergoing Major Renovation

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Boarded up, abandoned and rotting. They're the words that could be used to describe some of the houses on West State Street in Rockford, and they won't be there for long. The city plans to demolish and rebuild the area, a project that residents and local employees like Aleatha Townsend say is well overdue.

"It's going to make it look a lot better. Since I was younger, I grew up around here; it's just deteriorated so much. You didn't even want to drive down the street to look at it anymore, it's just horrendous”, says Townsend.

The city of Rockford is in the process of purchasing and demolishing approximately 100 buildings between Kent Creek and Independence Avenue. Once completed, construction will begin on widening portions of West State Street and creating a new environment for the neighborhood to enjoy, an idea that residents gave the city nearly a decade ago.

"The areas in and around them are going to be transitioned into green space, into a linear park. it will include a multi-use path, several recreational areas...not seen in this community anywhere else”, says Rockford Capitol Program Manager, Patrick Zuroske.

Despite the change in scenery, residents say it doesn't solve all the neighborhood's problems and more changes will need to be made to improve the area in the future.

Townsend says, "Working here, there's people that come here and panhandle that come and start problems, they have no jobs. So they're still going to be around here, it's still not going to change anything with the people in the neighborhood."

The project is being funded by the city of Rockford and the Illinois Department of Transportation. Construction is projected to continue for the next two years with an expected completion date of late 2014.


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  • by Bob Location: Rockford on Feb 20, 2012 at 07:49 PM
    Perhaps fixing the area up will give some of the local residents some hope for a brighter future. It may just be the spark to get things going?? It's Certainly A Far better idea than building more prisons as an investment in our kids future!!
    • reply
      by Dave on Feb 22, 2012 at 07:48 AM in reply to Bob
      Hope for a brighter future comes from commitment and hard work. Fixing things up will not provide for that. Also some parenting but I won't even open that can of worms. We have ALL of these people that think that does not matter.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 20, 2012 at 03:54 PM
    @Dave - As a matter of fact I am not talking about that subdivision even though I do think it is nice, try going down West State and making a left on Pierpont, you must have missed that corner because there is another little speck on the map and just for the record we have been living there... for 9 YEARS no gangs or drugs yet and try going South down Springfield off of Pierpont more specks on the map I know people who live over there too retired hard working people who have been living there for almost five years. Call it what you want I call these neighborhoods again beautiful with hardworking law abiding citizens trying to live the american dream and all new construction on the West side is not government subsidised and we pay taxes also and I have not seen any breaks come my way so I guess that means we are paying for own housing? It's not limited to just that subdivision either the same goes for surrounding neighborhoods. I'm not saying the whole West Side is perfect but there are people who like to invest in their property not just use it as a "drug house" and just because you don't live on the West side doesn't mean you don't have any gangs,drugs or crime in your neighborhood. No neighborhoods are crime free. Born and raised West side and I CHOSE to live in my neighborhood and I thank God they are finally taking the time to fix it up. The West Side in some areas is looking the way it is, because it has been neglected for so long not all people who live on the West Side are po folk or better yet drug dealers and gang members.... really? Now that's funny.
    • reply
      by Dave on Feb 22, 2012 at 07:45 AM in reply to
      So in a nut shell this is what I get out of your comments. Due to the housing market I made a bad housing by some years ago and now I am stuck here. Well Anonymous you sit there in the middle of all your beauty. I took a good look at it the other day on the way out of town. Garbage, run down homes, thugs trolling the streets and crappy little auto shops. Now that's what I call beauty!
  • by Susie Location: Rockford on Feb 20, 2012 at 12:59 PM
    Come on now Dave and mr crack. You two must be the most negative people in the city. This is a great thing. I wonder if you two ever get outside away from your miserable lives and actuAlly try to make this a better place to live? Do you attend Any symphony's , plays, or concerts ? Donate time or money to our museums, conservatories ,gardens or parks? Or do you just. Complain, and criticize. Make a difference would you ? They wrote a
    Movie about you two. " grumpy old men". The young people of his city will lead while you sit back and complain. By the way. You also don't travel much All cities have an essence of crime. I go to functions weekly downtown and have never felt scared. You apparently don't get out of the house anywhere....do you live in a bubble?
    • reply
      by Dave on Feb 22, 2012 at 07:43 AM in reply to Susie
      Lets see here... I am a season ticket holder for the Ice Hogs. I use to go to the Hawksnest before it closed until my car was broken into. I contribute as a business owner that employs others and pays taxes. I pay Real Estate taxes. I volenteer for clean up with several orginazations. Should i keep going? Lets see I do not travel muck. I have been to New York, Dallas, San Diego, Denver, St. Louis and Pittsburg in the last 4 years. I guess you have been checking my itinerary? Susie your comments reflect that of a scorned woman. Who did that to you?
  • by Susie Location: Rockford on Feb 20, 2012 at 12:57 PM
    Come on now Dave and mr crack. You two must be the most negative people in the city. This is a great thing. I wonder if you two ever get outside away from your miserable lives and actuAlly try to make this a better place to live? Do you attend Any symphony's , plays, or concerts ? Donate time or money to our museums, conservatories ,gardens or parks? Or do you just. Complain, and criticize. Make a difference would you ? They wrote a
    Movie about you two. " grumpy old men". The young people of his city will lead while you sit back and complain. By the way. You also don't travel much All cities have an essence of crime. I go to functions weekly downtown and have never felt scared. You apparently don't get out of the house anywhere....do you live in a bubble?
  • by Susie Location: Rockford on Feb 20, 2012 at 12:56 PM
    Come on now Dave and mr crack. You two must be the most negative people in the city. This is a great thing. I wonder if you two ever get outside away from your miserable lives and actuAlly try to make this a better place to live? Do you attend Any symphony's , plays, or concerts ? Donate time or money to our museums, conservatories ,gardens or parks? Or do you just. Complain, and criticize. Make a difference would you ? They wrote a
    Movie about you two. " grumpy old men". The young people of his city will lead while you sit back and complain. By the way. You also don't travel much All cities have an essence of crime. I go to functions weekly downtown and have never felt scared. You apparently don't get out of the house anywhere....do you live in a bubble?
  • by D Location: Rockford on Feb 20, 2012 at 08:43 AM
    Obviously everyone has not seen the entire West Side of Rockford. Have you not seen there are two beautiful new subdivisions right off of West State. I haven't heard of any major crimes downtown. At least not anything that has not happened any where else in the city. Right now people are afraid to go ANYWHERE because crime has gotten bad all over. I don't believe beautifing the West Side will take away from concentrating on the safety of the people especially since it's being funded from two different sources. It's about time some money has been "thrown" to the West Side believe it or not there are hard working people who are good citizens who would like to see some positive attention paid to the West Side so the WHOLE city LOOKS like a place we can all be proud of. It's well over due.
    • reply
      by Dave on Feb 20, 2012 at 11:13 AM in reply to D
      @D - Are you referring to the housing off of Springfield Ave. Like 20 houses maybe? Go take a look at those same neighborhoods in 5 years and then come talk to me. Its government subsidised and paid for by tax payers housing? You call that Beautiful....Is that really what you call it???? I call it a speck on the map. Go to the corner of School and Avon. Go to any corner on West state from downtown to Springfield. Feel free to take any right or left along the way and look around. You must be blind or be contributing to all the beauty you speak of. Thats pretty funny. Why should my tax dollars go to fix up drug and gang ridden neighborhoods?
  • by mackey Location: Belvidere on Feb 20, 2012 at 07:30 AM
    What a great opportunity to change the tone of W State St. Your community groups can start planning family walks, community gardens, citizen caretakers and watchers, art and craft events. Make it yours and the panhandlers will get the message I would think. Their not authorized to mess things up for your neighborhood. Mr Obama is a community organizer and I hear he will be available soon, perhaps you can ask for his assist.
  • by kitty Location: rockford on Feb 20, 2012 at 07:11 AM
    This is a wonderful idea & it is about time BUT are the residents around the renovation going to cooperate with the police to keep crime out of the area? Are THEY (the residents) willing to take responsibility to keep it safe and help with the upkeep like we residents on the east side do to keep OUR areas safe and clean?? The west side residents need to know we can't just keep throwing money at them and not expect them to take responsibilty and become good citizens!! This is their chance; let's hope they meet the challenges needed to make it successful. I hope and pray you will step up.
  • by Dave Location: Rockford on Feb 20, 2012 at 05:00 AM
    Take care of this please???? Have you not seen the entire West side of Rockford. This is a waste of tax payer money and will not make a bit of difference in how people feel about downtown. Heck...Ask the Ice Hogs. They lose attendence because people are afraid to come down and park. How about safety before beauty.
  • by dbrady Location: rockford on Feb 20, 2012 at 02:24 AM
    About time.
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