Rockford network moves forward with plan to improve city - – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford network moves forward with plan to improve city

Janyce Fadden Janyce Fadden
Alderman Ann Thompson-Kelly Alderman Ann Thompson-Kelly

A new group in Rockford hopes to use resources the city already has to improve business and education. The Economic Development, Education and Entrepreneurship Network (EDEEN) recently had its plan approved by the city.


The group is made up of more than a dozen organizations you may already know like the RAVE Board and the Rockford Area Economic Development Council (RAEDC).  They all have come together under one umbrella.


"What is happening is that people within those organizations are seeing assets that other groups have that they could use.  That they could share.  So that we aren't reinventing the wheel in each place," says Janyce Fadden, president of RAEDC.


EDEEN was started last fall as a way to maximize city resources. Its mission is just taking off. Monday, the city council approved a strategic plan.  EDEEN had also originally asked for a one time start up fee, but some aldermen didn't want to give additional money to organizations that already receive more than $3.5 million from the city, so that was pulled. Still three aldermen voted against the organizations plan.


"It adds another layer of government for the not-for-profit organizations' to adhere to," says Alderman Ann Thompson-Kelly.


One initiative is already underway, trying to expand Rockford's brain power.  The RAEDC says its using the Workforce Investment Board to bring its resources to a neighborhood center to get people ready for jobs.


"Our goal is to help improve the quality of life for the residents in Rockford. And we are going to do that by building more vibrant shopping districts, more vibrant job environment and a more vibrant community from a physical aspect," says Fadden.


In October, EDEEN has to bring its budget plans to the city.  There's hope that any money it's saved can be re-invested in the group getting them some of the extra money it first asked for.

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