Brownfields Revitalization

What is a Brownfield? A brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.  A 2012 County-wide inventory identified approximately 970 brownfield properties within the City of Rockford.  The City recognizes that clean-up and redevelopment of these underutilized and potentially contaminated properties is a key component in improving multiple variables that contribute to economic growth and blight reduction. The City of Rockford has been very successful in applying for and using Federal and State Brownfields Grant Funds dating back to 2000, when the City was selected as one of the original United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfield Pilot Programs.

Brownfield Accomplishments 

For almost 20 years, the City of Rockford, its community stakeholders, and engaged constituents have worked closely together to assess and clean-up perceived and confirmed environmental hazards present at several valuable redevelopment sites in our community. A few of our project successes are featured below.

Active Brownfields Redevelopment Projects

Due to our extensive industrial heritage and our proactive approach at brownfields revitalization, it is common for the City of Rockford to have several concurrent brownfields projects occurring at various stages.  Current active projects include:

Brownfield Redevelopment Opportunities 

The City of Rockford is actively seeking interested parties to partner with on redeveloping City acquired brownfield properties. With a variety of local development incentives available and our ability to secure and leverage several State and Federal funding sources, the City of Rockford has established itself nationally as a model community in the brownfields redevelopment market. To inquire about the following City-owned brownfields properties and available economic incentives, please contact Economic Development Manager Mark Williams at 779-348-7449 or Mark.Williams@Rockfordil.gov.

Community Engagement

The City of Rockford strongly recognizes that community participation and stakeholder involvement play an essential role in successful brownfields redevelopment.  There are numerous success stories across the nation that can attest.  It is the ideas and needs of our community that helps us prioritize the brownfields in our community and seek out the necessary resources to transform blight into an asset that contributes to improvement in our citizens quality of life and our economic state. To inquire or provide comments on the City’s brownfields revitalization efforts, please contact the City of Rockford’s Community & Economic Development Department at 779-348-7162 or email us at: CD_Internet_Requests@rockfordil.gov.

FY2021 Grant Applications to USEPA

The City of Rockford has applied for a Cleanup Grant for two sites in the downtown vicinity. The application was submitted on December 3, 2019. The sites included in the application are the former Rockford Watch Factory at 325 S. Madison Street and the former Lloyd’s Hearing Building at 128 Kishwaukee Street. The City is requesting the Cleanup Grant to cover the cost of asbestos removal for the the Rockford Watch Factory and soil clean up for the Lloyd’s Hearing Building. A Public Meeting detailing the application was held on November 18, 2019 in City Council Chambers. Comments and questions related to this application or future grant applications can be made to Brownfields Redevelopment Specialist Robert Wilhelmi at 779-348-7425 or Robert.Wilhelmi@Rockfordil.gov.  Final Cleanup Grant Application

FY2021 Innovative Readiness Training Program Grant Application

The City of Rockford has requested assistance from the Innovative Readiness Training Program under the Military Assistance program in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. The program is exclusive to the United States and its territories and delivers joint training opportunities to increase deployment readiness. The requested assistance will support the City’s ongoing blight removal and redevelopment efforts by demolishing a vacant and deteriorating structure located at 128 Kishwaukee Street, known as the Lloyd’s Hearing Building.  Additionally, build-out assistance of the Family Peace Center was also requested for a location to be named at a later time.

Local Brownfields in the News

Rockford Looks to Clean Up Contaminated Properties (11/18/2019)

City Presents Brownfields Revitalization Updates to Haight Village Neighborhood Association (9/19/2019)

Rockford wins $400K EPA grant for Barber-Colman site (6/21/2019)

EPA Announces the Selection of 2 communities to Receive $600,000 in Funding for Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup Grants to Address Contaminated Properties in the Rockford, Ill. Area (6/5/2019)

City Presents Brownfields Program Updates to Signal Hill Neighborhood Group (4/11/2019)

City Meets with Auburn West Side Business Group to Discuss Brownfields and Other Revitalization Programs (3/21/2019)

Barber Colman TIF District approval nears final hurdle (1/7/2019)

EPA Provides Rockford with $500,000 to Fund Brownfield Cleanups (7/7/2018)