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Rockford’s Riverfront Museum Park included in capital improvement bill

Staff Report

ROCKFORD – Rockford’s Riverfront Museum Park will receive state funding to improve its facility.

Funding will come from a bill passed last week by the Illinois General Assembly, marking $13.3 million for the  Illinois Arts Council and  $50 million for the Arts Alliance Capital Coalition that will fuel 36 projects dedicated to permanent improvement in cultural infrastructure across the state.

Rockford’s Riverfront Museum Park is among the 36 coalition members set to receive funding for capital projects official say will have lasting impression on Discovery Center Museum, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford Dance Company and Rockford Symphony Orchestra, all located inside the Riverfront Museum Park building at 711 N. Main Street, where annual events like RAM’s Greenwich Village Art Fair, Discovery Center’s Bubble Fest, Countdown to Fun, and more all take place.

The bill is awaiting Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signature.

Riverfront Museum Park is a Rockford Park District facility that serves as a community anchor for the Rockford region because of the organizations inside. Without state funding, the financial burden of making upgrades and improvements to the building would fall on Discovery Center, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford Dance Company and Rockford Symphony Orchestra, severely impacting the ability of each nonprofit organization to carry out their respective missions.

Officials credit Illinois Sen. Steve Stadelman (D) Rep. Maurice West (D), Sen. Dave Syverson (R) and Rep. Joe Sosnowski for their commitment to the bill.

“We’re thrilled that in this era of great uncertainty for the cultural sector, the Illinois General Assembly reaffirmed its commitment to the arts through maintaining budget levels for the Illinois Arts Council Agency,” Arts Alliance Illinois Executive Director Claire Rice. said. “Fueling arts capital projects in progress and planned across the state is an investment in our future. Cultural spaces are not only community anchors, these capital funds will create jobs in the arts and culture, construction, and manufacturing industries.”

Rice said arts, culture, and the creative sector are needed now more than ever.

“This is a sector keeping us sane, connected, and inspired during the pandemic, and this critical funding will support both programs and bricks-and-mortar operations,” she said. “Our sector is and will be a critical part of the healing and restoration of Illinois, and we look forward to working with the legislature, governor, and the IACA as we move our sector into recovery.”

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