Rockford mayor unfazed by protestors during 6th State of the City Address

Mayor Tom McNamara discusses challenges of 2022 and plans for improvement in 2023.
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 10:10 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Protestors interrupted Mayor Tom McNamara’s 6th State of the City address but they didn’t change the mayor’s message of improved public safety and increased economic development.

Rockford neighborhoods, safety within the community and the city’s economy were the focus of McNamara’s presentation on Tuesday at City Hall. The mayor outlined his success of 2022 and his plans for improvement in 2023.

“We wanted to help those who were struggling financially to make critical home repairs in order to keep the integrity, safety and quality of their own homes,” said McNamara.

Protestors delayed the start of the speech by five minutes but the mayor seemed unfazed, touting what he calls improvements made to better the Forest City.

“We need residents to hear that directly from elected officials so they know what we’re doing on their behalf,” McNamara said.

McNamara says one major physical improvement to Rockford neighborhoods is attacking the pothole problem.

“Everyone drives on Rockford roads; they all know they need some love, but this city council approved the largest capital improvement plan in our city’s history of $340 million,” said McNamara.

McNamara also addresses steps made to decrease crime rates around the city, highlighting a 35% increase in police funding.

“We purchased additional gunshot detection, license plate readers in our city, We quadrupled the number of cameras in our city. We have purchased social analytic software so we can track violent criminals online,” McNamara said.

Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd says she can see a reduction in crime compared to when she started 26 years ago.

“You have a phenomenal police department that works day in and day out in trying to solve crime and taking those offenders into custody,” Redd said.

McNamara also emphasized a 35% increase in property values and a 23% decrease in property tax rates.

He cited other accomplishments during his tenure including making water safe by replacing lead pipes, bringing more businesses to the area and implementing more sidewalks and streetlights into neighborhoods.