ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford City Market will have a new layout this year.
The footprint is now closer to the original plan, with State Street being open. The decision was made by organizers who brought it to city council, unlike last year when the aldermen made the decision.
There were concerns that the closure of State Street would be a problem for public safety, but the new footprint creates a more free flowing environment.
“Before there’s passing traffic, everybody saw the market, saw the vibrant atmosphere,” said 14th Ward Alderman Mark Bonne. “Now it’s, you know, the footprint was sort of closed and hidden.”
A new footprint for the city market is moving forward, and State Street will not be closed like it has been for the past two years.
“What we approved last year was a compromise between an even larger road closure that the market organizers wanted, and no closure of State, which is what the business owners wanted,” Bonne said.
Downtown business owners said that shutting down one of the only ways to get over the river hurt their bottom line. Over 70 people signed a petition last year for the footprint to change.
“Coming out of the pandemic, restaurants were concerned that every Friday night, which is a busy night, there wouldn’t be enough patrons in order to satisfy their financial needs,” said 1st Ward Alderman Tim Durkee.
Those with the expertise came together to make the decision after getting feedback.
“Leadership with the River District, the business owners, our city staff and the police actually got together and arbitrated this and put forward a plan that seems to satisfy everybody’s needs,” Durkee said. “The good news is the people who are in the know made the decision rather than a bunch of elected guys and gals.”
The new footprint adds to the back of the market under the Jefferson Street bridge to utilize the empty space.
“I think this is going to be welcome news for the businesses, and actually, the market patrons are going to enjoy it more too,” Bonne said.
The committee unanimously passed the new footprint, and it will now go to the full council.
Rockford City Market is set to begin on May 19.