Mayor McNamara addresses Rockford business leaders

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- "It's a very exciting time to be in business in Rockford."

Tom McNamara addresses the business community for the third time as Rockford’s Mayor. He discusses a new sense of optimism and progress in the city.

"Key focuses areas are economic development strengthening our neighborhoods and improving public safety,” he said.

The mayor also stressed violent and property crime numbers are down, but he remains focused on continuing that progress.

"I still believe we can’t tackle violent crime in the city of Rockford without getting to the root problem which is domestic violence. 40 percent of violent crime is domestic violence related."

Another topic discussed is the rise in jobs and businesses throughout The Forest City.

"More than 30 million dollars of private development is taking place downtown today, said McNamara."

With the expansion in jobs at Ingersoll Tools, Amazon, The Rockford Airport, and private businesses... Many current companies are feeling a sense of renewed hope.

"Businesses breaking ground, businesses added space, businesses adding people, businesses buying equipment, all of that effects businesses like mine, a marketing firm because as they grow they want to promote all of the added services,” said KMK CEO Pam Maher.

"A lot of really wonderful things are happening in the community, but obviously, we have a lot of room for improvement and always talking to the business community is good so they can be a partner in our improvement,” said McNamara.

McNamara also says the city has exciting things ahead including the approval of Hard Rock Casino will bring more than 800 construction jobs and 1,000 full-time jobs to the former clock tower site.