United Way of Rock River Valley breaks ground on third Strong Neighborhood House

Through incredible partnerships between United Way, building trades unions, Associated Bank, and so many others, our third Strong Neighborhood House will soon be serving residents of Machesney Park and Loves Park.

On Thursday, we broke ground on our newest Strong Neighborhood House at 825 Marie Avenue in Machesney Park. It's being built on a lot donated by Associated Bank. The construction of the house is noteably the result of the amazing generosity of countless hours of donated labor from Northwestern Illinois Building Trades Unions, on top of a $15,000 donation from the same group. In addition, Associated Bank donated $35,000, and $25,000 in materials were provided by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Graceffa.

The Marie Avenue House is a result of initial conversations between the Winnebago County Sheriff's Office and United Way of Rock River Valley. “Sheriff Caruana and Machesney Park and Loves Park officials met with us and agreed that a Strong Neighborhood House in the area is a way to improve relationships between law enforcement and neighborhood residents and address crime,” said Paul Logli, President and CEO of United Way of Rock River Valley.

Positive relationships between residents and officers have shown to reduce crime around the existing Strong Neighborhood Houses. "Every neighborhood has strengths and assets and we want to help bring those to the forefront so residents can feel safe and proud of their neighborhood," Logli said.

Northwestern Illinois Building and Construction Trades, Project First Rate, Scandroli Construction, YouthBuild Rockford, and ZION Development have also done an incredible job of leading the construction of the single-story, 3-bedroom, 2-car garage house.

Once completed, Gina Meeks, Strong Neighborhood Coordinator, will work with agency partners, Sheriff's Deputies, and Loves Park Police officers to implement programs and activities designed to support the children and families in the house's surrounding neighborhoods. United Way currently does the same at two other Strong Neighborhood Houses, one at 908 8th Avenue in Rockford, and the other at 312 Irving Avenue in Rockford.

The Marie Avenue House is scheduled to be completed by early October 2020.

Thank you!

Without the following partners, the Marie Avenue Strong Neighborhood House would have never become a reality.

  • Loves Park Police
  • Village of Machesney Park
  • Winnebago County Sheriff's Department
  • Northwest Building Trades
  • Project First Rate
  • Scandroli Construction
  • Associated Bank
  • YouthBuild Rockford
  • Zion Development

Donated labor, materials, and monetary support from the following were vital for this project.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Frank Graceffa
  • Carpenters Local 792
  • Local 23 Plumbers & Pipefitters
  • Local 364 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
  • Painters District Council 30
  • Roofers Local 11
  • Sheet Metal Workers Local 219
  • Packard Excavation
  • Kelso Burnett
  • Jack Hall
  • N-Trak
  • Area Mechanical
  • Stetson Building Supply
  • Fahr-Graham
  • G.W. Anderson