Some people think Chicago controls the rest of Illinois, so if Chicago compliments Rockford it's kind of a big deal, right?

The changes in Rockford over the past 5, even ten years, is catching on. Even major newspaper Chicago Tribune is jumping on the Rockford bandwagon. In a lengthy article, Rockford breweries, coffee shops, storefronts, and art is highlighted. Specific businesses like Rockford Art Deli, Carlyle Brewing, Prairie Street Brewhouse, and Rockford Roasting Co. are shown some love. But a large portion of the article is centered around the new hotel and convention coming in 2020.

Perhaps the best part of the article is the quotes and statements from Rockford Mayor McNamara. If you don't know Mayor Mac, he's in his 30's and experienced downtown Rockford the way many Rockfordians did 10+ years ago. You went downtown to a specific destination and then went back home. Now, people are going downtown the day. And soon enough, people will head downtown for the weekend. Imagine that. Tourists in downtown Rockford for their entire trip without driving in from East State and I-90.

The mayor and a half-dozen others interviewed for this story said that when they were growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, they didn’t spend much time downtown. Back then, the storefronts were more likely to be empty than filled. McNamara, who is in his mid-30s, recalls that he’d get in the car with his parents and go to a museum, or they’d visit the YMCA, but then they’d get back in the car and go straight home. Today, he says, it’s a different story.

Many proud Rockfordians will look at this and Trib's article and think to themselves, "yeah, I already know downtown Rockford is a great place to be." If you're not one of them I encourage you to read the Chicago Tribune article, have an open mind, and then head downtown.

JB Love is ½ of  Q98.5's Lil Zim & JB In The Morning, weekday mornings from 5:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

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