By Steve Summers and Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — A new city initiative aims to flood six neighborhoods with resources and services designed to improve both the look of the area and quality of life for residents.
The Neighborhood Improvement Initiative will launch next month and continue throughout the summer. It focuses on six neighborhoods selected because they have been negatively affected by crime and could benefit from being connected to various community resources and services, Mayor Tom McNamara said.
A team of city employees, community partners and volunteers will flock to neighborhoods on specific dates to make improvements to the overall environment, including streetlights and sidewalks.
“We’re trying to change the built environment of these neighborhoods,” McNamara said on This Week in the Stateline. “We’re going to be improving streets, we’re going to be improving sidewalks, we’re going to have our forestry department out there working to trim back trees, we’re going to make sure that the lighting is good in those neighborhoods. We’re going to put all of our physical resources that we can into those neighborhoods.”
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The team will also work to connect residents with resources such as energy assistance programs, enrolling children in the Head Start early education program and distributing smoke detectors. The city is also partnering with more than 20 organizations that can help provide medical, mental health, disability, senior and youth services, as well as lighting and home repair services.
“We want to make sure that residents are connected to the services that they need and that they live in a safe, well-constructed environment,” McNamara said. “We want to make this as easy as possible for our residents to get connected to the services that will benefit them and their families most and allow them to succeed.”
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There will be six neighborhood workdays this spring and summer when improvements will take place. At the end of each workday, residents will be brought together for a block party with food and other activities.
The goal is to help residents build relationships, improve neighborhoods and reduce crime.
Neighborhood workday schedule
- Friday, April 22: Area bordered by Albert Avenue, School Street, Central Avenue, and Mulberry Street
- Friday, May 20: Area bordered by North Horsman Street, Whitman Street, Woodlawn Avenue, and Locust Street
- Friday, June 17: Area bordered by Winnebago Street, Whitman Street, North Court Street, and Locust Street
- Saturday, July 16: Area bordered by Broadway, Kishwaukee Street, the railroad tracks, and Eighth Street
- Saturday, Aug. 20: Area bordered by West Middle School, Kenmore Avenue, the alley east of Kilburn Avenue, and Custer Avenue
- Friday, September 23: Lincoln and Island streets from South Main Street to Custer Avenue
This article is by Steve Summers and Kevin Haas. Email Kevin Haas at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @KevinMHaas