City of Rockford Invades Neighborhood to Fight Blight


The City of Rockford hopes to become a top destination, not just for tourism, but for families to call it home as well.  However, one alderman says that won’t happen unless residents start cleaning up the trash, literally.  The Code Enforcement Officers would look for trash or deteriorating buildings.  Anyone caught not doing their part to keep the city clean will have to pay a fine.

“For them to come out and do something it means a lot,” said Rockford Resident Mekika Ash.

Open chemical jugs, peeling paint, and trash in yards, that’s what four City of Rockford Code Enforcement Officers were on the lookout for. They walked block by block, knocking on dozens of doors in the Jackson Oaks Neighborhood. They covered Crosby and Benton Streets between Longwood and Summit. They cited violators forcing them to clean up and pay up.

“Word is getting out that blight is going to be a tact in our city here,” said Alderman Chad Tuneburg (R-3rd).  He joined the officers during their sweep.  He says it’s important to keep landlords, their tenants, and residents accountable for the blight..  “One house goes on a block…all of a sudden you realize the whole block goes, that block goes, and soon there goes the neighborhood. I think we’ve seen that a little to often in this part of Rockford.”  Tuneburg believes in order for Rockford to be a top 25 community by 2025, every resident must do their part.

“Downtown is going through a transformation,” said Ald. Tuneburg.  “We have $130 million of investment going into [Swedish American Hospital] right across the street.  We’re going to be out here often to keep an eye on things and hopefully improve the area.”

Mekika Ash’s property was not cited for blight.  She says with the city going into neighborhoods, it gives her confidence that her neighborhood can change.

“It’s a start,” said Ash.  “[It’s]ground work starting here. I know they have a big task to do in Rockford that’s a good sign.”

A Code Enforcement Officer says these sweeps like these usually help a neighborhood and that the upkeep is usually maintained.

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