Grant program to encourage downtown businesses to light up for the holidays

River District Association has created a grant program to encourage downtown business owners to decorate their storefronts for the holidays.

River District annually partners with the City of Rockford to decorate downtown Rockford with holiday lights and decorations, and this year, to extend those efforts the Association has created a matching grant program to encourage businesses to decorate for the holidays, too.

In addition, River District is promoting this effort to enhance the holiday experience of Festival of Lights patrons. Festival of Lights organizers, River District representatives, and City representatives met earlier this fall to discuss how to extend this annual holiday experience into the downtown area. Visitors to the Festival of Lights at Sinnissippi Park, 1400 N. Second St., will be invited through a brochure and a sign to continue their holiday excursion to Rockford’s downtown River District neighborhood to see more holiday lights and decorations.

River District Association will reimburse 50 percent of holiday lights and decorations expenditures up to $50 per business. For example, if a business spends $70, a grant request for $35 can be submitted. If $100 or more is spent, a request for $50 can be submitted. River District has set aside $1,000 for this grant program from a portion of proceeds received from River District’s annual fund-raiser, Red Ball.

River District’s matching grant criteria

First-come, first-served basis starting with grant request submissions dropped off at or mailed to the River District office Monday, Dec. 4, 2006 (after 9 a.m., 127 N. Wyman St., 2nd floor, Rockford, IL 61101).

Location of business

Priority given to businesses located on State Street. between 6th Street and Church St.

Priority given to businesses located on Main and Wyman streets between

Park Avenue and Cedar Street.

Priority given to River District Association member businesses.

Original receipts must be submitted with the grant request form. Fifty percent of receipt total up to $100 will be awarded to the business (i.e., a $50 grant will be given for receipts totaling $100).

Decorations must be installed by Dec. 1, 2006, and remain at least until Jan. 1, 2007.

Decorations must be visible to the public—storefronts, front of buildings or visible from public right of way.

For more information and to request a Holiday Matching Grant form call Kim or Diane in the River District office (964-6221) or e-mail:, or pick up a grant form, in the office, 127 N. Wyman St., 2nd floor.

The mission of River District Association is to promote a growing, thriving, prosperous business and residential community in Rockford’s downtown neighborhood, River District.

River District Association would like to recognize and thank its 2006 Primary Sponsor Partners: Amcore Bank, WTVO CH 17 and WQRF FOX39; and 2006 Sponsor Partners: Associated Bank, LaMonica Beverages, Hayes Beer Distributing, and Morrissey Law Offices.

From the Nov. 29 – Dec. 5, 2006, issue

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