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Leaders Weigh-in on New Downtown Sports Complex

A few weeks back, on February 19, more than two-dozen leaders toured the UW Health Sports Factory as part of an effort to educate citizens on the benefits and impact of the new multi-use facility.

Touring the facility were the award-winning leaders who were selected as recipients of Soul News Network’s 25 Black Leaders to Watch Awards. Half the leaders received the award in 2015 and others were recipients in 2012. The group has since combined both classes, totaling nearly 50 award winners, under a more formalized group that will convene regularly.

Upon completion of the tour, Leaders weighed in with their thoughts about the new, multi-use facility via online survey and also during live interviews with local media. Of those surveyed, the consensus is the facility is a great opportunity for economic growth and community engagement; as well as an excellent start towards revitalizing downtown Rockford. The group commends Rockford Park District on this initiative.

State Representative Litesa Wallace said, “My son is a basketball player himself so to see the courts was just refreshing to have such a state of the art facility in our own backyard.” Wallace said another benefit she sees for children is the interaction they’ll get with other athletes from across the country.

Although some of the leaders said they are not sure the facility will help build a bridge between the east and west sides of town; they are confident in Rockford Park District’s ability to provide ample opportunity for ALL youth, adding the Park District has always done a great job in this area. Concerns were centered around a need for hotel space to keep the momentum once the new facility is completed; as well as a need to ensure local vendors and small minority businesses get ample opportunity at contracts throughout the facility. Both concerns were acknowledged and well received by Rockford Park District staff.

The Leadership group thanks Rockford Park District and their welcoming staff for opening the doors to the new facility for the private tour and are looking forward to the grand opening events.

Just about every profession one can imagine is represented among this group of highly respected professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders of Rockford, Illinois. All were nominated and selected by local citizens and professionals based on their outstanding performance in the areas of business, community and civic leadership.


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