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Forest City Beautiful

Forest City Beautiful

Since its inception in 2014, the initiative’s focus has been to improve downtown civic spaces by restoring public landscapes, installing and planting 75 planters and installing 9 public art sculptures for local residents and visitors to enjoy. Now in its third year, the program expands to further enhance downtown streetscapes, way-findings, walkways and public areas within the River District.

Today, RACVB and the RDA announced that the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois (CFNIL) continued their ongoing support of Forest City Beautiful by contributing $38,614 from the Bengt & Mary Kuller Endowment fund. The grant will help to offset the costs of purchasing and installing 5 benches, 5 bistro tables, 13 chairs and installing way-finding signs (directional signage) throughout the downtown. This is the third consecutive year that the CFNIL has granted money to the initiative. In addition to the funding support this year, they also contributed a total of $70,000 in 2014 and 2015.


“The Forest City Beautiful project has helped to dramatically change the perceptions of our region by providing cleaner and more attractive spaces, which has led to a better quality of life for our residents and richer experiences for visitors,” said Tana Vettore, director of destination development for the RACVB. “Our partners, including our great partnership with Rockford Sharefest, have certainly allowed us to do more, grow faster and show the community the value of creating spaces people can enjoy. We are extremely grateful and excited to continue this mission to love on our city even more in the years ahead.”

Included with the Forest City Beautiful initiative is the Sculpture Stroll featuring Boaz Vaadia and Hans Van de Bovenkamp.

Several of the newly funded features will begin to appear throughout downtown Rockford in the coming months. Two bistro tables and chairs will be placed at the southwest corner of State and First Streets and three will be placed on the north side of State Street between First and Madison Streets (one will be handicap accessible.) Five benches will be strategically placed between Third and Water Streets. Additional trash receptacles will be placed along State Street along with directional way-finding signage for added conveniences.

If you would like to sponsor the Forest City Beautiful initiative, please contact Tana Vettore at tvettorre@gorockford.com

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Forest City Beautiful is supported by the generous donations of individuals and organizations in the community. In 2014, RACVB seeded the initiative with $80,000 from its board-designated Wendy Perks Fisher Fund for Innovation and from an initial commitment of $110,000 from the City of Rockford. In addition to seed funding from the City and RACVB, more than $120,000 has been raised to support the multi-year beautification effort. In addition more than 2,500 Sharefest volunteers have given their time and talents to this project.

Funders and sponsors to date include:

Forest City Green Sponsor

  • Community Foundation of Northern Illinois
  • Holmstrom & Kennedy, PC
  • David & Colleen Anderson Family
  • Rockford Park District

Blue Oat Grass Sponsor

  • Illinois Bank & Trust
  • Reno & Zahm
  • LaMonica Beverages with Darrell & Bobbie Snorek
  • CoyleKiley Insurance Agency    

Red Maple Sponsor

  • B&B Properties
  • Wipfli LLP
  • LawnCare by Walter
  • Rockford Housing Authority
  • Bill Doran & Company
  • David & Colleen Anderson Family
  • Mary Ann Smith

Purple Coneflower Sponsor

  • WilliamsMcCarthy LLC
  • Urban Equity Partners
  • Rockford Bank & Trust

Spotlight On Rockford