PXL 20230602 1617598262Floating boat docks funded through State Senator Steve Stadelman officially opened for public use today as Stadelman also announceed he has secured an additional $250,000 to build a multi-use path as part of his total financial commitment of $3.7 million toward redevelopment of Davis Park.

"The opening of the boat docks is the first step to transforming Davis Park into a vibrant gathering spot that capitalizes on the riverfront and its proximity to other public and private investments downtown, especially Embassy Suites," said Stadelman, who joined Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara for a dockside news conference and ribbon-cutting. "A strong downtown is essential to the economic growth of the entire Rockford region.”

Stadelman dedicated $450,000 of Rebuild Illinois capital funds to purchase and install the docks this year and another $3 million to the overall project. An additional $500,000 competitive state grant was awarded to pay for construction of a canopy stage and outdoor concert venue.PXL 20230602 1632589402

During the state's annual budgeting process, Stadelman secured another $250,000 for a multi-use path connecting the Rails-to-Trails bridge south of the park with a path under the Chestnut Street bridge that connects to the connects to the south end of the Rock River Path at the Whitman Street bridge. Total state investment in redeveloping Davis Park so far comes to $4.2 million.

PXL 20230601 174720137 1The canopy stage and multi-use path are among elements of the project that are planned for 2024. Other aspects of the redevelopment include a pedestrian plaza, food truck court, native gardens, an urban beach and splashpad, skatepark and possibly an outdoor ice-skating attraction.

Conversion of the long-vacant Amerock industrial building into a luxury hotel was made possible in part by legislation Stadelman sponsored to offer tax credits for refurbishing historic property.

"All of these features enhance the downtown experience, improve the quality of life for residents and attract tourists who spend money that supports small businesses," Stadelman said. "I'm proud to be able to deliver a majority of the funding for this piece of the puzzle, and I will continue to work to rebuild our downtown."