This week is National Travel and Tourism Week. As such, it's appropriate that we recognize the significant contributions visitors make in our region. Each year, visitors spend nearly $300 million and support 3,000 jobs. At the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, we are focused on growing our economy by increasing tourism.

An additional $16 million annually in visitor spending can strengthen our local economy when we upgrade and expand our sports infrastructure. And in the process, the Rockford Region will once again be first in the nation for hosting amateur sports tournaments.

The Reclaiming First sports tourism master plan created by a steering committee recommends that the former Ingersoll building in downtown Rockford be transformed into a multi-sport facility, Sportscore Two be upgraded with artificial turf and lights and the Indoor Sports Center be expanded.