ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford’s Midtown District is seeing a fresh start. New businesses are opening, and more are on the way.
Midtown District’s Executive Director, Ronn Mooney says his goal is to make the area a place where visitors want to come.
“I think we’re just beginning to see the growth in this area,” Mooney said. “There or four or five projects going on right now, they should come out early next spring.”
To make sure shoppers feel safe too, the district is helping business owners to deter crime.
“One of the goals of our organization is to assist businesses with putting in security systems,” Mooney said. “They had heard all these things about the seventh street area, and come to find out it’s really not true. It’s really not a bad place to come too, it’s very comfortable. We’ll walk around with them and show them what’s going on.”
Matthew Simpson, Rockford’s Economic Development and Diversity Procurement Coordinator says the areas reputation isn’t scaring away potential business owners anymore.
“The local entrepreneur is what we need to lift up our community,” Simpson said.
One out of the nine new businesses in Midtown is Gene’s Irish Pub. It opened just five weeks ago.
Mooney says Gene’s is bringing in people for lunch and dinner, that didn’t happen before.
The pub’s owner, Gene Hayengao says he’s seen more construction, remodeling and most importantly people coming to the area.
“I think there’s more and more people being interested in the Midtown area, and I think it’s on the way up to being just as busy as downtown,” Hayengao said.
Mooney is optimistic for the future of Midtown District.
“We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s really started,” Mooney said.
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