Local architecture students brainstorm ways to improve downtown Rockford as part of capstone project

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO)- Reimagine Rockford. That’s been the goal over the past five months for eight architecture grad students at Judson University.

The students intially came to the Forest City back in January to tour the Orchid, Swift, and Fordam neighborhoods. They then spent their entire semester workshopping potential improvements.

“Hearing the stories of community members, see where I can go from there, and then not only just making it beautiful but actually meaningful it how it will help Rockford,” said Judson student Randy Reyes.

Wednesday night, members of the non-profit Transform Rockford and other community members came together at the Riverfront Museum Park to hear their presentations.

“Bringing people into our community and then having them take a look and hearing what they have to say and just new ideas, it’s really beneficial for us,” said Cira Richardson, Great Neighborhoods Program Director for Transform Rockford.

Ideas included a riverfront baseball stadium, downtown aquarium, and urban farm.

“I don’t imagine that a local entrepreneur is going to knock down our door to build a baseball stadium tomorrow, but hopefully these ideas will inspire someone to take on something similiar,” said Alan Frost, associate professor of Architecture at Judson.

The goal of the partnership between Judson and Ttransform Rockford is to provide city leaders a new perspective, while giving students an opportunity to gain real-life work experience.

“I think that was the biggest takeaway, was to prepare me to actually do something like this, but possibly making it a reality,” said Reyes.

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