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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.

UW Health Sports Factory Campus (Project Summary)  (Virtual Facility Tour!)

Former TAPCO Warehouse (Project Summary)

Stanley J. Rozkowski United States Courthouse (Project Summary)

Save-A-Lot Grocery Store (Project Summary)

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:

  • Rockford Embassy Suites and Conference Center

  • 134 North Main Street

  • Rock Valley College Advanced Technology Center (Barber Colman Campus)

Brownfield Redevelopment Opportunities 

The City of Rockford is actively seeking interested parties to partner with on redeveloping several 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. For additional details on the following City owned brownfields properties, please contact Economic Development Manager Mark Williams at 779-348-7449 or Mark.Williams@Rockfordil.gov.

  • Rockford Watch Factory – 325 S. Madison Street

  • Barber Colman Campus – 1200 Rock Street

  • S. Main Rail Yards Parcels – 725-801 S. Main Street

  • Chick House Hotel – 121 S. Main Street

  • Rockford Armory – 605 N. Main Street

  • Lloyd’s Hearing Building – 128 Kishwaukee Street

  • Church School – 1419 Blaisdell St

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 brownfields revitalization in the City of Rockford, please call the Community & Economic Development Department at 779-348-7162 or email us at CD_Internet_Requests@rockfordil.gov.

FY2021 Grant Applications to USEPA

At this time, the City of Rockford is applying for a Cleanup Grant for two sites in the downtown vicinity. This application deadline is 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 asbestos removal for the 325 S. Madison Street site and soil clean up for the 128 Kishwaukee Street site. The City of Rockford will conduct a Public Meeting concerning the Cleanup Grant application on November 18, 2019 at 4:00 pm in City Council Chambers, 425 E. State Street, Rockford, IL 61104, 2nd floor. Comments and questions related to this future application can be made to the Brownfields Redevelopment Specialist, Robert Wilhelmi at 779-348-7425 or Robert.Wilhelmi@Rockfordil.gov until December 2, 2019.

Draft Cleanup Grant Application  Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternative

FY2021 Innovative Readiness Training Program Grant Application

The City of Rockford intends to solicit 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. Local contractors, labor union organizations or private contractors who have questions or who wish to voice comments of the potential Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs’ assistance for this project may contact Brownfields Redevelopment Specialist Robert Wilhelmi at 779-348-7425 or email at Robert.Wilhelmi@Rockfordil.gov no later than September 25, 2019. Persons not filing comments within the time frame noted will be considered to have waived their objections to the participation of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs in this project.

Rockford Brownfields in the News

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)