Times Theater 2021aROCKFORD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) was joined by colleagues to show support for the historic Times Theater redevelopment project continuing in downtown Rockford Monday.

“Bringing back business to downtown Rockford is important in our redevelopment of the area,” Stadelman said. “The Times Theater is a vital and historic part of our community and I am happy to see renovations and redevelopment plans in the making.”

The long vacant theater built in 1938 hopes to receive assistance from the Rebuild Downtowns & Main Streets Capital Grant program to restore the building to seat audiences of up to 900 people. The theatre would host live performances and films — filling a need for a mid-sized media venue in downtown Rockford.

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State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) spoke with Brian Mackey of Illinois Public Media last week on the importance of access to local journalism in Illinois and how the Journalism Task Force will work to assist local news outlets across Illinois.

“If people don’t get the information they need of what’s going on around their town, they won’t be able to make educated decisions for their area,” Stadelman said. “This task force is here to begin the discussion of how we can strengthen access to local journalism throughout Illinois and provide news and information to underserved communities.”

In the interview, Stadelman talks about how journalism has been impacted throughout the nation in the closure of newspapers across the country. Action is needed to help supply communities with local information. Stadelman believes local journalism is the backbone of this kind of support for communities.

You can listen to the whole conversation here.


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Legislature passes sweeping equity reforms

In a marathon close to the 101st Illinois General Assembly last week, lawmakers considered four comprehensive bills to address equity in education, economic opportunity, health care and criminal justice. Work on the health care legislation continues while the three other bills were sent to the Governor. I want to give you an easy-to-digest overview of what I believe are the key points of these monumental, long-overdue reforms:

Education Equity

  • helps ensure struggling young children get the resources they need to be ready for school and prepares all children for post-secondary education
  • identifies more equitable ways to fund higher education
  • expands and reprioritizes efforts to increase minority teachers

Economic Equity

  • increases goals for minorities, women and people with disabilities to access state contracts
  • protects consumers from predatory loans by capping interest rates
  • evaluates discrimination in the state’s beauty supply industry

Health Care Equity

  • evaluates the effectiveness of Illinois' managed care program
  • grants a two-month stay on hospital closures
  • creates a task force to undertake a review of health and human service programs with the goal of improving access and outcomes for all Illinois residents

Criminal Justice Equity

  • increases police accountability, transparency and training
  • promotes the use of co-responder models in a mental health crisis response


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Steve New Newsletter


Stadelman announces more BIG funding for Rockford businesses

State Senator Steve Stadelman reported today that five Rockford businesses received financial assistance through the second round of the Business Interruption Grants, bringing to $3 million the total to be awarded locally through the BIG program to date.

“Small businesses are part of the livelihood of the Rockford community,” Stadelman said. “They need all the additional grant money they can get to keep their doors open, and I’m pleased the state remains committed to communities like Rockford during these difficult times.”

Businesses in the Rockford area received nearly $2 million the first BIG distribution, and another $1 million was given out earlier in the second round. The additional five local businesses awarded this week are:

Jason M Grinters Dds Pc Onsite Dental: $135,000

Evergreen Warehouse: $20,000

Rockford Area Arts Council: $65,000

Anderson Japanese Gardens: $55,000

Rockford Staybridge Inn and Suites: $150,000.

Grants have ranged from $5,000 to $150,000 to help with expenses like payroll costs, rent, utilities, equipment and other possible unexpected costs to relieve the effects of the pandemic. To ensure funds are distributed across the state and across business types, $60 million has been specifically allocated for heavily distressed industries, and another $70 million has been set aside for businesses located in disproportionately impacted areas, or low-income areas that have experienced high rates of COVID-19, including Rockford.

“As the pandemic continues and more businesses struggle, it is important they know there is assistance available,” Stadelman said. “Businesses must be given the capital they need to continue to navigate this pandemic with the winter months quickly approaching.”

Local businesses can still apply for assistance online.

Stadelman announces almost $7 million for Rockford Mass Transit

The Illinois Department of Transportation is set to allocate $350 million in funding as part of the Rebuild Illinois Capital Project -- and almost $7 million of that is heading to Rockford to support mass transit, State Senator Steve Stadelman reported this week.

"Every day, thousands of people rely on Rockford Mass Transit District to get to and from home, work or school or to visit one of the countless local businesses that make our city great. With this grant," Stadelman said, "they’ll be able to provide a better and safer experience for riders, which is even more crucial during a global pandemic that is causing people to rethink their travel habits.”

IDOT will provide the RMTD with $6.85 million, which will be used for various maintenance related projects including:

The purchase of new paratransit units and alternative fuel buses to replace existing vehicles that have reached the end of their lifespan;

The purchase of technology, including radios, computer tablets, cameras and automatic passengers counters, to help enhance safety, improve operation connectivity, and streamline the process of transferring to the Stateline Mass Transit District; and

The design, construction, purchase and installation of various electric and power equipment to reduce levels of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission.

“These funds will go a long way toward helping RMTD provide a more modern, efficient service that will greatly benefit those who use the system as well as the city of Rockford as a whole,” Stadelman said. This is the first of three grant distribution cycles, with the subsequent two scheduled to be released in 2021 and 2023. A full list of grant recipients from the first cycle can be found here.

Stadelman announces more than $1 million for Rockford museums

Discovery Center children's museum, Midway Village and Museum Center, Burpee Museum of Natural History and Winnebago County will receive more than $1 million in combined grants to improve their facilities and develop new exhibits, State Senator Steve Stadelman reported this week.

"Museums tell a story about the past, and remembering our past is crucial for shaping our present and future,” Stadelman said. “Learning about our state’s history is an important part of being an Illinoisan, and I’m glad more people will have that opportunity because of this funding.”

The Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program, administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources through the state’s multi-year capital program, is open to any museum operated by local government or located on municipally-owned land. The maximum grant award for the projects announced this week was $750,000 with matching funds required in many cases based on museum attendance levels.

“Discovery Center, Burpee and Midway Village attract thousands of visitors each year,” Stadelman said. “This grant program is making an investment in the Rockford community, which will spark economic growth in our community.”

More information on the Illinois Public Museum Capital Grants Program is available on the IDNR website.

 COVID-19 surge cancels veto session

As cases of COVID-19 surge at record high rates, the Illinois General Assembly’s fall veto session has been cancelled to keep legislators, staff and the community safe and healthy.

The Springfield area’s rolling average positivity rate for confirmed COVID infections had skyrocketed to 14.4% in the days leading up to the decision, prompting concerns about hospital capacity in the capital city, which is the medical provider for its region. As of Thursday, that rate grew to 16.4%.

The veto session was scheduled for Nov. 17-19 and Dec. 1-3 to bracket the Thanksgiving holiday. The fall dates are typically scheduled for lawmakers to take up any vetoes made by the governor. However, there were no vetoes this year. Rather, the legislature planned to use the additional session days to pass a comprehensive package to combat systemic racism.

Despite the recent cancellation, members of the General Assembly still plan to meet again before the 102nd General Assembly convenes on Jan. 13 to discuss those measures, should it be safe.

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 34th District
121B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8022
District Office:
200 S. Wyman St., Suite 301
Rockford, IL 61101
(815) 987-7557