Guest Column: Main Street vision–your action is needed!
By Chris Wachowiak
Owner, Kryptonite Music Lounge
When I opened Kryptonite almost nine years ago, I chose this location because of the pedestrian mall. But now, the mall is gone and replaced with a street that I did not want. Nevertheless, the street is here, and I must say the City of Rockford did a nice job on the street… and when they did it, they actually did some great things…
1. They installed barricades into the road;
2. They installed proper power for running festivals; and
3. They included beautiful landscaping, lighting and attention to detail.
So here we are, an area set up and ready to go if people wanted to put some shows or events on this new street. But who really wants to close off a new street for some concerts?
Here is the question for everyone: Who would like to see some concerts on the new Main Street? And how often would you like the opportunity to do so?
Back when this street opened, I had a vision to put on some concerts out here on the street and I wanted to do it every weekend. Many people told me I was crazy and my alderman, Doug Mark, told me he didn’t like the idea of shutting down the new street every weekend. So, I came back with every other weekend! That would allow me to route some national acts like OK Go, G. Love and The Old 97s—with the hint of a Jeff Tweedy or Wilco show—and Doug’s newest stance is, “One show a month.”
I want to call these nights “Green Light Nights.” I want to bring some cool shows, decorate the downtown and light up downtown with some killer music and people. Now, I need you…yes, you reading this, to speak up to your alderman right now! Yes, right now, saying that “MAIN STREET needs an ordinance change to make it more festival friendly.” I plan on bringing outside festivals to town as well…not just my own ideas! And I want to encourage others to bring events and ideas downtown!
This is how these things begin to happen. ACTION is required. If you want to see a change, then you need to be part of the change.
This ordinance change is in the initial stage of a change at “Codes & Regs,” and it needs to make it out of there…and all the other aldermen are NOT fans of downtown! I’ve heard it firsthand. They care about their wards, and mainly their wards. Downtown, I believe, is the “heart of Rockford,” and if we want to make Rockford a cool, fun town, it takes change just like this to make it happen! And did I mention that we are not asking for any money from the city? And, in fact, we plan on making the city some extra money by doing these events?
If you like this idea, please contact your alderman at the e-mail addresses or phone numbers below, and please copy Doug Mark on any of your e-mails! Do it now! Show your support and at least e-mail or call!
Contact your alderman
First Ward: Joe Sosnowski, (815) 739-0772, firstname.lastname@example.org
Second Ward: Pat Curran, (815) 398-7504, email@example.com
Third Ward: Doug Mark, (815) 962-2058, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fourth Ward: Carl Wasco, (815) 282-1635, Carl.Wasco@rockfordil.gov
Fifth Ward: Venita Hervey, (815) 968-7682, email@example.com
Sixth Ward: Leonard Jacobson, (815) 874-9299, Leonard.Jacobson@rockfordil.gov
Seventh Ward: Ann Thompson-Kelly, (815) 968-8389, Ann.Thompson@rockfordil.gov
Eighth Ward: Nancy Johnson, (815) 226-0673, Nancy.Johnson@rockfordil.gov
Ninth Ward: Bill Timm, (815) 962-7592, Bill.Timm@rockfordil.gov
10th Ward: Frank Beach, (815) 399-3737, Franklin.Beach@rockfordil.gov
11th Ward: Karen Elyea, (815) 316-0258, firstname.lastname@example.org
12th Ward: John C. Beck, (815) 961-1954, John.Beck@rockfordil.gov
13th Ward: Linda McNeely, (815) 962-5424, Linda.McNeely@rockfordil.gov
14th Ward: Bill Robertson, (815) 398-3624, email@example.com
From the April 21-27, 2010 issue
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