Winnebago County News Briefs

Family-friendly events on May 30 – June 3 to celebrate the Rockford Peaches’ 75th Anniversary and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL).


Rockford Peaches saluted during weeklong events

The International Women’s Baseball Center (IWBC), in partnership with the Friends of Beyer Stadium, presents a series of fun, family-friendly events on May 30 – June 3 to celebrate the Rockford Peaches’ 75th Anniversary and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). .

Activities kick off with a Diamonds, Denim & Stars Fundraiser on Wednesday, at the Coronado Performing Arts Center

A League of Their Own sets the theme for the evening, so come dressed like it’s 1943 or as your favorite character from the movie! Original players from the AAGPBL will be at the event signing autographs. Megan Cavanagh, most recognized as Marla Hooch from A League of Their Own, and Kim Ng, MLB’s Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations, will also be at the event visiting with guests and signing autographs.

This event will also be the launch site for the 2018 Women’s Baseball World Cup, held for the first time in the United States this year!

For more information about these and other events, visit


Mayor names task force for David Park renewal

Mayor Tom McNamara has announced d a plan to move ahead with redeveloping Davis Park, appointing a Task Force to implement a visionary master plan and naming the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (RACVB) to lead the effort.

“I believe Davis Park is key to the long-term growth and success of Rockford’s downtown,” said Mayor McNamara. “Increasingly, our community is coming together and our central city is coming to life in exciting ways.” 

Planned attractions in Davis Park will be a magnet for residents and visitors alike, enlivening the heart of the city and spurring Rockford’s economy in general, the mayor said. The plan calls for an expanded footprint, water features and an ice rink, enhanced music venues, public docks, green space, a sculpture walk, a climbing wall on the exterior of the Lorden Building, attractive gateways and more.

At the mayor’s request, RACVB President/CEO John Groh will chair the new 19-member task force. The group is charged with implementing the Davis Park Master Plan, a visionary set of recommendations developed by another city-appointed group that met in 2015 and 2016 and submitted a detailed final report.


Sheriff wants to throw you in the slammer

Innocent people are being sought to spend some time behind bars while county law enforcement officials test out the new DeKalb County Jail. 

The jail facility recently was expanded to about 140 beds, solving a decades-old overcrowding problem. The jail lost about six cells to make way for a skyway that connects the current facility to the expansion. The new facility also has a roll-call room for staff, where members would find out which post they will work during each shift. The expansion increases the size of the jail to more than 80,000 square feet, up from 46,000 square feet.

The county has to test the systems and procedures in the new facility, and is looking for citizen volunteers to be “prisoners” for one evening, June 1. Volunteers will get to experience being booked into jail, having a mug shot taken, sitting in a jail cell, and eating with fellow inmates.

The privilege of helping the county will cost $40. The money will be given to charitable organizations that provide vital services to the jail. Any DeKalb County citizen who is age 18 or older, passes a background check and submits a check for the amount payable to DeKalb County Government is eligible. There will be two booking times: 4-5 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. “Prisoners” will be sprung about three and a half hours later.

Volunteers may choose which charity to direct their “fine” to: Voluntary Action Center, Safe Passage, CASA DeKalb County Inc. or The Children’s Advocacy Center. To register, go to


Franzen new economic development director

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara has named Karl Franzen Community and Economic Development Director. Franzen currently serves as Economic Development Coordinator.

The Community and Economic Development Department is responsible for the City of Rockford’s development and re-development efforts including planning, neighborhood development, economic development, zoning and construction services. The department is directly responsible for oversight and programming of the City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and HOME Investment Partnerships Program. The department also facilitates cost reduction tools for investment in the city, including the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts, Enterprise Zone and River Edge Redevelopment Zone.


–Winnebago County News Briefs–