New Company formed to preserve North End Business District

New Company formed to preserve North End Business District


“Preserving yesterday for a better tomorrow” is the slogan of Old North End Development, LLC, a new company formed to enhance and preserve the unique character of Rockford’s historic North End Business District.

President Renie Gile said the new company will capitalize on a growing national trend away from malls and back to “Main Street” style shopping districts. Plans also include promoting tourism. “Visitors don’t come to a city to see big box stores,” she said. “They are attracted by unique businesses that reflect the personalities of their owners.

“At a time when we, as a community, are promoting downtown and the cultural corridor, it is important to capitalize on our strengths. Rockford’s historic North End is home to some of Rockford’s most desirable neighborhoods. Its business district is an asset which, with the right mix of new shops and its existing unique restaurants, antique and gift stores, can be a destination place for the entire Rockford metropolitan area as well as for visitors from other cities.”

Historic Preservation Commission member Gary Carlson and Mayor Doug Scott share Gile’s views. “The North End is the most significant of all (regional business districts) because it is the last commercial shopping district in Rockford whose original streetscape, or sightline, is 100 percent intact,” Carlson said. “We must do whatever is necessary to see that it is protected.”

In a letter to Carlson less than two weeks before his mayoral victory, Scott wrote, “I believe in doing what we can to preserve historic sites, and I have a special interest in a number of areas of our community, including the North End.”

Gile, president of the North End Commons Business District, has been working for four years to promote the district and to capitalize on its strengths—beautiful, historic neighborhoods, strong demographics, affordable space convenient parking and pedestrian accessibility.

“The formation of Old North End Development assures those interested in starting a new business that with its completed improvements—new curbs, sidewalks, decorative light poles and attractive roadway—North End Commons is an ideal place to do business,” Gile said.

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