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Lecture series to focus on revitalizing Rockford

Monday, March 08, 2010  
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By Jeff Kolkey
Posted Mar 08, 2010 @ 05:23 PM
Last update Mar 08, 2010 @ 10:36 PM

ROCKFORD — Revitalization of Rockford’s urban core is the centerpiece of a new three-part lecture series set to debut this month.

Organized by the Higher Education Alliance for the Rock River Region, the series could serve as a sort of launch pad to engage the community in the work of the Rock River Development Partnership established by Mayor Larry Morrissey and SupplyCore CEO Peter Provenzano.

It is the first time HEARRR — a collaborative composed of Northern Illinois University, Rock Valley College, Rockford College and the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford — has hosted a lecture series.

"We wanted to establish a forum where people could come together to discuss things important to the community,” said Rena Cotsones, Northern Illinois University’s assistant vice president for regional engagement in Rockford.

"The idea of revitalizing the urban core has relevance to job creation, wealth creation and attracting young talent to the community. It is something top of mind. It is something the community is dealing with at this moment.”

March 16: Morrissey and Provenzano will deliver the keynote address at the first of the lecture series at 6:30 p.m. inside Regents Hall at Rockford College called "Setting the Context” that promises "a candid view of our city’s challenges and opportunities.”

April 15: Graham Richard, former mayor of Fort Wayne, Ind., and author of "Performance is the Best Politics” will speak at the second lecture of the series at 6:30 p.m. at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford about what is considered the successful revitalization of Fort Wayne.

May 6: Max Reim, a key player with Live Work Learn Play LLC., the consulting firm hired by the Rock River Development Partnership to develop a master plan for the revitalization of downtown Rockford, will speak at 6:30 p.m. inside Regents Hall at Rockford College.

It is hoped he will discuss the strategy and action plan for downtown redevelopment.

Staff writer Jeff Kolkey can be reached at or at 815-987-1374.

This story appeared at on March 8, 2010.

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