Rockford may spend $300K on campaign to attract residents

Updated 5/31/2021 8:03 AM

ROCKFORD, Ill. -- Rockford may spend $300,000 to attract new residents to the city as its population has declined.

The City Council could consider a measure this week to contract with the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for a marketing campaign promoting the community, the Rockford Register Star reported. It would focus on Rockford's affordability, location, entertainment and leisure offerings and be aimed at workers, families and visitors, officials said.


'I think there are a lot of good things happening in our community and we need to get that message out,' Mayor Tom McNamara said.

Funding would come from a left-over cash balance in the city's tourism fund, which is generated from a 5% tax on hotel stays. The Visitors Bureau would raise matching funds from private sector donations of at least $200,000.

John Groh, president and CEO of the Visitors Bureau, said evolving technology and the pandemic have resulted in more people working remotely. The campaign could attract some of those workers who are no longer tied to the communities where their employers are located.

Rockford has lost more than 7,200 residents since 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Illinois' statewide population also has declined.

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