Clean-up voluntees and sidewalk sought for East State

Clean-up voluntees and sidewalk sought for East State

By Shellie Berg

By Shellie Berg

By Shellie Berg

Staff Reporter

Rockford Gateway Association seeks organizations to volunteer for its third annual East State Street Spring Clean-up, and the association also is currently putting its best foot forward in trying to create pedestrian access for busy East State.

The clean-up will occur, rain or shine (if there is lightning, it will be called off permanently). Volunteers will meet in the east parking lot of Outback Steakhouse, 6007 E. State, at 8:30 a.m. May 5 and be assigned to particular areas in the corridor from Alpine Road up to the NIU Education Center.

Greg Petty, NIU director and volunteer coordinator for the event, stated people will clean up “whatever’s there. It’s all junk that’s accumulated over the course of the year. Last year, we found a dead duck. We found a $20 bill.”

In addition to sprucing up the area, volunteers will mulch around the 300 plants the association has planted throughout the area.

After making the area spick-and-span, at 11:30, volunteers can finally take a breather and enjoy a free lunch. Because of the Cinco De Mayo holiday, volunteers will get to acquire a taste of Mexico with free Mexican food. They can also tune their ears to a mariachi band and receive free sombreros.

“This year, because of the theme, we thought we’d have fun and give away

Continued on page 4

From page 1

sombreros,” Petty said.

Organizations donating items to volunteers include Crimson Ridge and Klehm Arboretum. For more information, call 332-7339.

Walk this way

The association is also working with the Illinois Department of Transportation, Rockford Mass Transit District and the city on making East State more pedestrian-friendly. The association has proposed a 10-foot-wide, half-mile-long sidewalk between Roxbury Road at Saint Anthony Medical Center to the Rockford College entrance.

A crosswalk would connect both sides of East State, from Roxbury to Arnold Avenue.

The association wants to obtain some private funding from businesses located throughout the area. “This is their community, so we all need to work together,” Williamson said.

She noted that when many businesses began sprouting in the 1980s, the road wasn’t intended to be used for pedestrian access. “There was no sense that there would be pedestrians there,” she said. “Our whole landscape has changed. People are circulating more as pedestrians.”

The organization is also collaborating with RMTD to relocate the bus stop at the Phar-Mor East State entrance, to the parking lot. Williamson noted the stop would be more accessible and safe in the parking lot. “There’s a great public benefit,” she said.

Williamson is unsure when the project could start, but if approved, it would be by the next construction season.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!