RACVB and Rockford Sharefest announce joint project

Staff Report

The Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau announced a large-scale project with Rockford Sharefest as the next step in the Forest City Beautiful initiative.

Sharefest, which helped Forest City Beautiful Launch in 2014 by providing more than 700 volunteers, will be helping RACVB’s Forest City Beautiful initiative reach its full potential as their major 2015 project.

The overall project will focus on revitalizing the downtown including several parking lots throughout the downtown, adding planters to the streetscape, painting of amenities along State Street and landscaping along the west bank of the Rock River between State Street and Jefferson Street Bridges.

“We knew the success of Forest City Beautiful was predicated on the community embracing the initiative, and we are enthused that Sharefest and its volunteers have fully embraced this initiative,” John Groh, RACVB president/CEO said. “To have Sharefest choose Forest City Beautiful as its main focus for this year is huge and demonstrates an understanding that downtown and our riverfront are important to the entire region and every resident.”

It is estimated that this year over 2,500 volunteers will help beautiful Rockford with the estimated volunteer equity donated to the community being $192,640.

“Sharefest got started because of the need in our local public schools. After 8 years and 13 school renovations, we can celebrate – that need has been met!” Creig Day, Rockford Sharefest executive director said. “This year we will focus all of our energies downtown. We want to bring help and hope to the center of our city and spur on the momentum that is building.”

The Forest City Beautiful and Sharefest Project Week will take place from Friday, May 29-Saturday, June 6.

Those wishing to volunteer can visit rockfordsharefest.com or forestcitybeautiful.com.

“Forest City Beautiful is a solution that helps breathe life into the core of our city, while creating public spaces that are aesthetically pleasing and also environmentally friendly. This transformation process is a reflection of the incredible partnerships and strong community working together to continue beautifying Rockford’s beloved downtown,” said Tana Vettore, Director of Destination Development for the RACVB.

Forest City Beautiful also received a boost thanks to a $45,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois which will help offset the costs of purchasing and installing 40 large planters that will be installed throughout downtown Rockford during the Sharefest Project.

“We see the Forest City Beautiful project as a vital way to revitalize the community through enhancing the physical appearance of the downtown,” Jon Bates, Executive Vice President for the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, said. “We are encouraged by the success of the project so far and by the commitment made by the RACVB and Rockford Sharefest.”

In addition to grants Forest City Beautiful is also supported strongly by donations from individuals and organizations in the community.

Those interested in donating to the initiative can get more information at www.forestcitybeautiful.com or by calling Tana Vettore at 815-963-8111.

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