ROCKFORD, Ill. – The City of Rockford will benefit from nearly $300,000 worth of state grants to promote economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grants, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, are part of the Research in Illinois to Spur Economic Recovery (RISE) program administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
RISE empowers local governments and regional economic development organizations to create meaningful plans that align with the state’s overarching economic plan, with a focus on specific initiatives and investments that support recovery from the pandemic.
After local plans are created, the state will offer grantees a competitive grant opportunity to apply for funding for specific projects included in their plans.
“I’m grateful to see these dollars coming into our community,” says Mayor Tom McNamara. “Creating both of these plans will help Rockford’s long-term economic recovery and improve quality of life in our community.”
“Funding our local government bodies allows them to continue to support families and businesses around the community,” says Senator Steve Stadelman. “These grant funds help develop and implement plans to address the pandemic’s impact on our communities and provide meaningful steps forward for families and businesses like.”
Two companies and organizations that benefit:
Region 1 Planning Council (R1) will receive $148,916 to fund a regional industry cluster analysis that examines the workforce and business attraction needs of emerging industries, including electric vehicle manufacturing, renewable energy and innovative agriculture and information technology.
The analysis will provide recommendations to ensure R1’s economic development, workforce and higher education partners can deploy the necessary tools to grow jobs and enhance economic development within Winnebago, Boone and McHenry Counties.
R1 Director of Economic Development Planning and Policy Isaac Guerrero stated that they are grateful to the State of Illinois’ investment and support. Isaac Guerrero, R1 Director of Economic Development Planning and Policy. Guerrero continued to say that “the RISE funding will allow economic development, workforce and higher education leaders to understand how to best attract private investment to our region. A focus on emerging industry clusters will ensure our region creates a plan that will provide economic relief from the pandemic and sustainable prosperity moving forward.”
Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau will receive $150,000 to conduct a tourism recovery master plan that, once completed and implemented, will assist in the region’s recovery and make it more resilient to fluctuations in tourism, which will help increase employment opportunities, spur private investment and advance economic resilience throughout the region.
The plan will assess, consider and make recommendations and include items such as a product analysis and current asset inventory (including outdoor recreation offerings, hotel and meeting spaces, sports facilities, wayfinding, events and festivals, transportation assets, arts and culture, etc. ), current visitor profiles and demographics report, destination performance benchmarking, future needs assessment, and recommendations for implementation.
RACVB president/CEO John Groh says that this grant will allow the RACVB to create a plan to increase and improve the regions tourism economy. “We are grateful to the State of Illinois for their confidence in RACVB to carry out this work.”