by TERRY KONKLE
President, Rockford Area Historical Society
The Rockford Area Historical Society (RAHS) continues to be a busy group. As part of our fundraising efforts, members of RAHS and others will take part in the annual Parade of Homes event. Thirty-six volunteers will be involved greeting guests over the nine days of showing homes. They will work in pairs with each group doing a four-hour shift. The home we are responsible for hosting is located at 93 Riverchase Drive in Rockford. The viewing times are spread over a three-week period beginning May 25. Schedules and all locations can be found online at www.ParadeofHomesMI.com. Information has also been in recent newspaper ads. Our thanks goes to all the helpers and to my wife, Jan, for coordinating the effort.
At the last Rockford City Council meeting, all five council members voted to approve a lease agreement with RAHS. This is a major step forward because now renovation of the courthouse can begin. We have the funds to do this without using pledged money, and it will start very soon. When the renovation is complete in the two large rooms, we are planning a major auction fundraiser before the exhibits go into the building. We need auction items and readers can help us with this. Our auction committee will be out with information soon, so please think about what you might have to donate. Money raised from the auction plus our pledges will pay for exhibits and operations. Donations continue to come in from those who want and are able to help. Recently many have come in from those in the “Golden R” group.
More information about the lease and some of the provisions in it will be placed in future columns, but readers are welcome to contact me with questions at (616) 866-0530.
A special thank-you is appropriate here to our city council, Mayor Steve Jazwiec, Brien Dews, Mary Eadie, Jerry Coon and Rich Moll, who, along with City Manager Michael Young, listened to our proposal and allowed us the opportunity to make it work. I know that they had some concerns, but were willing to “let us try.” I am sure in the back of their minds they knew they were dealing with something that not all towns have: “Rockford Pride.” Many in our area and others from all over the country, who know of our town, take great pride in trying to make Rockford the “BEST.” Their donations and pledges prove that they care and want positive opportunities to take place. The city council and the city manager gave us the opportunity, but those who donated, those who pledged, and those who spent hours and hours working behind the scenes got us to where we are. Makes one feel quite proud, doesn’t it. That’s ROCKFORD PRIDE.
But we are not done! We still need to raise funds to finish what we started. We have met the requirements set by the council in order to get the building. Now we must make necessary renovations, place exhibits and operate an outstanding museum. We need additional exhibit and operating money to add to what we already have. We are getting close and various ideas are out there but not finalized. If you are willing and able to help, please consider a donation or pledge. Please send to: Rockford Area Historical Society, PO Box 781, Rockford MI 49341.
Next week I will catch up on the trivia questions which from now on will be called “nuggets of Rockford history.” Thanks to Jack Bolt for the new title and to those who have contacted me recently with answers.
Finally, if there are people, organizations or businesses who want to know more about our society and our plan, please contact me at (616) 866-0530 and I will see that information is sent to you. We also have people who would be glad to talk with your group, if that would help. These are very exciting times in our Rockford history, and we want to help where we can.