Rockford area to expand based on tourism survey results

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 6:32 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - In the next 10 years, Rockford area residents and tourists will see an expansion to make the region more appealing for both visitors and stateliners because of a survey that will help leaders in tourism build Rockford up to bring more people in.

From Aug. 14 to Sept. 30, the Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (RACVB) and the Belvidere Chamber of Commerce are offering free Beef-A-Roo cheese fries to residents who fill out the tourism survey. Area leaders say the free food is shockingly resulting in some promising feedback so far.

“We can’t just sit back and be idle,” said Lindsay Arellano, RACVB sales and service vice president. “We need to always keep moving forward and looking at what other communities are doing and what our citizens want to see, and we need to just keep moving forward.”

Economic gain is the goal behind the survey. The results will shine light on what needs to be done in the Forest City area to make residents happy while also attracting tourists. Leaders could see demands like new bike paths added along the Rock River or newer stores with wider variety added to downtown Rockford.

“Do we need more boat docks, or do we need more walking paths? We’re going to look at all of these suggestions that come in and work with the city, work with the government and see what’s possible, what plans can we implement to make us a better tourism destination,” Arellano said.

Those that live in Winnebago County or Boone County who haven’t filled out the survey yet will have until Sept. 30 to do so. It is available in Spanish and English.

RACVB and Belvidere Chamber of Commerce will work with an advisor to help implement the changes.

“What things we should go after, what things are feasible and maybe what projects, initiatives, bricks and motors, so we will be advised and we will follow their recommendations.”

As well as cheese fries, everyone who fills out the survey and enters in their address will be entered to win a Rockford-themed prize basket.