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Where Chicago meets Rockford

5728 Views 21 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  wheelingman
This is part of a series by the Rockford Register about the sprawl in Boone County. It basically highlights the fact that Chicago and Rockford (at least their respective suburbs at least) have started to merge.

Local News
Where Chicago meets Rockford

By MARK BONNE, Rockford Register Star
>> Click here for more about Mark

When Irish railroad track layers from Omaha, Neb., met Chinese track layers from Sacramento, Calif., in Promontory Point, Utah, they drove a gold spike in the ground to mark the spot where east met west in construction of America's first transcontinental railroad.

No such ceremonial ground exists in Boone County. But as rooftops have replaced cornfields in a building boom that has chugged full steam ahead for at least 15 years, Boone County has become home to families escaping Chicago and its suburbs to the east and Rockford to the west.

The transplants represent two distinct cultures, even if some of their reasons for putting down new roots are the same.

Those from Chicago come first for the affordable housing, although they also enjoy Boone County's lower taxes and open space. People making the move from Rockford are buying into a more expensive market. And many view that as a financial trade-off for lower taxes and faster appreciation.

It's the pastoral lifestyle that seems to appeal most to families from Rockford. They buy in Boone County because they can afford to, not because it's a bargain. They don't think of themselves as having left, either. They view themselves as living on Rockford's far eastern fringe.

Here's where the common perception of casual observers begins to unravel. Ask real estate agents and they'll tell you that buyers coming out of Rockford tend to be professional, upper-income families with stay-at-home moms who thirst for the solitude of Boone County's rural two-acre developments.

“Those jobs in the suburbs pay double what they would in Rockford,” he said. “The people who are moving from the suburbs, their lower price is a high price for people moving out of Rockford.”

McCarty, a Rockford native and 1988 graduate of Jefferson High School, moved his family to Boone County in 2000, but he doesn't fit the pattern he describes. McCarty bought an existing home on a rural road outside a subdivision.

The family moved to Boone so the kids would get a better education, McCarty said. The two older of this three children attend Caledonia Elementary School.

“Nobody in Rockford supports the schools,” he said. “If you live in Rockford, you feel like a chump to send your kids to the public schools.”

Debbie Carlson, who grew up on farms in Boone County and has sold real estate since 1989, also sees the schism between Chicago-area and Rockford newcomers.

“People moving from Rockford are usually buying $200,000 and up, and the people moving from the suburbs are usually under $160,000,” said Carlson, a Coldwell Banker broker.

Almost without exception, affordability is the driving force for the Chicago-area shoppers.

Who's moving in

Migration from other counties to Boone County in 2002-03:

County from




















Other Illinois counties


Rock, Wis.


Walworth, Wis.


Other states



Sources: Internal Revenue Service, “Statistics of Income for 2002-2003,” compiled by the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford

Many families exiting Rockford, on the other hand, are empty nesters and those with children are likely to have fled Rockford's public schools years ago. Some stick with private education in Rockford after they move to Boone; others return to public schools.

“People assume it’s people from Chicago buying all these big houses in Boone County. But that’s not true,” said Tim McCarty, sales representative for L.E. Boeske Associates, a development firm. “The expensive homes are going to the people from Rockford, and it’s the double-income families from Chicago who are buying on the lower end.”

Among the Boeske company’s projects is Aberdeen Knoll, the fifth Aberdeen-named subdivision along Orth Road, near and around Swanhills Golf Course. The current and last phase of the development consists of 101 lots on 202 acres and has commanded sales prices from $425,000 to more than $1 million.

“I can only think of two people in that last phase,” McCarty said, “who aren’t employed in Rockford.”

Contrast that with a recent $275,000 sale McCarty made in the Prairie Lane subdivision to a husband and wife who work as janitors in Lake County. McCarty said the couple’s pay rivals what college-educated professionals in Rockford earn; the couple also made a handsome profit on the $300,000 sale of their older, two-bedroom Mundelein home.

“They get on I-90, stop in Marengo and Huntley and end up in Belvidere,” she said. “The community sells itself when people get here and see the quaintness and charm. They see how close we are to O’Hare, Rockford, Madison and Milwaukee.”

Chicago-area buyers don’t seem to mind commutes that Rockford folks won’t tolerate. Carlson recently sold a home to a Roselle firefighter who drives 75 minutes each way to work. In Candlewick Lake, she recently sold a place to a data-entry clerk who commutes with three other single male co-workers who already owned homes in the subdivision.

Another segment of the market that doesn’t get discussed much is the under-$120,000 buyer. Many are Boone County natives who end up starting families in Rockford, where the selection in that price range is plentiful.

“For most of the Belvidere kids, $80,000 to $120,000 is very hard (to find) here. There’s people in Belvidere,” Carlson said, “who resent that we’re pricing people out of town — and they’re our own kids.”

The landscape has changed considerably from the 1960s when Carlson’s father, the late Richard Roettger, was chief of a then-volunteer rural fire department. The family farmed several tracts in different parts of the county.

“It’s really something,” Carlson said, “to see areas where my dad and I made hay, and now they’re subdivisions. In this recent election, we had Democrats run.”

What’s more, Belvidere voters in April passed a referendum to build a second high school, still more evidence of changing times. Carlson isn’t alone in fearing that might erode community spirit.
“I can’t help but be glad my kids already graduated and had the opportunity to grow up in a smaller Belvidere,” she said.

Tom Lewis was no different than most of Belvidere’s newcomers when he, his wife, Pat, and their two sons bought a home in Dawngate subdivision in the early 1990s. But he’s no longer the typical commuter.

Lewis quit his job in telecommunications to become a self-employed contractor and home remodeler. He traded a second new home in the Riverbend subdivision for loft space in a commercial building in Belvidere’s old downtown. Since 2002, Lewis has served as a Belvidere alderman.

“The majority of people coming out here didn’t come out here to get involved,” said Lewis, a Chicago native living in Elgin before he made the leap to Belvidere. “They come because of what you get for your dollar as far as housing, and the School District is excellent.”

Lewis remembers driving from Elgin to his job in Deerfield when he saw a Dawngate billboard on the tollway. The billboard advertised three-bedroom homes starting at $122,000.

“I said, ‘I’ve got to see what you can get for $122,000.’ You couldn’t touch that home for that now — you’d be paying $190,000. I was very surprised at the time what you could get for $122,000 in Belvidere.”

With his eldest son in eighth grade and about to enter high school, the decision was easy.

“I knew nothing about Belvidere, except it had the Chrysler plant,” Lewis said. “But Elgin High School has a horrible reputation for gangs and drugs. I just didn’t want him in that.”

When industry experts say Boone County attracts Rockford’s high-end buyers, many have high profiles, too. Larry Gloyd, the retired CLARCOR CEO, and home builder Joe Contarino live east of the Winnebago County line, to name two.

Restaurateur Jimmy Vitale built on 18 acres on Riverside Boulevard when his antiques habit overwhelmed his place on Halsted Avenue in Rockford.

“I was collecting so hard,” he said, “I had the dome to the Galena State Bank just sitting in my back yard.”

Vitale designed the English Tudor-style house around pieces like the bank dome, which forms the ceiling in his kitchen, and an 1801 staircase from an English country estate. Vitale chose Boone County because it provides the picturesque setting he wanted. Beaver Creek winds through the property.

It takes Vitale less than 20 minutes to drive to Cliffbreakers, his hotel and banquet hall where Riverside crosses the Rock River. Except in one respect, Vitale still feels like a Rockford guy.

“My mom and dad live in Rockford. My sister lives in Rockford. I have always generated my income in Rockford. I pay taxes in Rockford. All the guests I work with are Rockford guests,” he said.

But Vitale “felt cheated” in April when “I didn’t get to vote in the mayor’s election ... since it could have such a big impact on me. I felt kind of disenfranchized.”

Tom Furst tells a similar story. The president of Furst Group, an executive recruiting firm in Rockford, Furst moved his family to Boone County from the Imperial Oaks subdivision on Rockford’s northeast side 22 years ago. He and wife Darlene wanted to build a contemporary home to display their impressive collection of modern art.

Ten years ago, the Fursts built another contemporary home. This one sits on two acres in the Deer Woods subdivision off Olson Road. Rockford didn’t offer lots as scenic or as large.

“I don’t think we ever thought about county lines, to be candid,” said Furst, a Freeport native who moved to Rockford in 1968.
With more space between houses, Furst doesn’t know his neighbors as well as he has in the past.

“Our subdivision is kind of mixed — people like us, where the children are gone. But there are a lot of kids in the subdivision, too. The school bus is out there picking them up every morning.”

Furst, appointed to head a 20-member transition team for Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey after Morrissey defeated incumbent Doug Scott in April, said he’s still plugged in to Rockford culturally and politically.

“I went to vote in Boone County,” he said, “and knew a lot more about what was going on in Rockford.”

Rosemary Collins, a judge for the 17th Circuit Court in Winnebago and Boone counties, moved to a two-story home with a wrap-around porch on two acres northwest of Belvidere in 1996. Collins’ husband, Rockford attorney Paul Gaziano, wanted more room to garden. The couple’s only child, 2-year-old Stephen, hadn’t entered the picture yet.

Collins, a native of downstate Edwardsville who earned her law degree in Chicago, doesn’t see much difference between Rockford and Boone County.

“I feel like the Rockford-Boone County area is one big community,” she said. “People have what I call small-town values. People look out for each other. They’re kind toward each other. And that’s true of the whole area.”

Best-selling novelist Kimberla Lawson Roby moved with husband Will in 2001 to a home on 1.6 acres on a cul-de-sac. She enjoys watching a family of deer cross her yard each night at about 5, but she worries further development might erode the area’s charm.
“When we moved here,” she said, “we didn’t think a lot of stuff would come here. But it’s coming.”

Joe and Susan Arco, who own ComTech, a marketing and video production firm near CherryVale Mall, were on the front end of the trend, trading an address near Rock Valley College for one in the Prairie Ridge subdivision in Boone County in 1991.
More than anything, they wanted open space.

“I can see the sun come up in the morning and watch it set over Rockford in the evening,” Joe Arco said of the couple’s hilltop home. A native of Rockford, Arco grew up on its north end and graduated from Boylan Catholic High School.

“Over the years, what was way out has gotten very close,” he said. “I remember my mother saying, ‘Why are you moving way out there?’ Now, it seems like it’s just moments away from Rockford.”

Rockford attorney Bill Reilly grew up near Guilford High School. When the family moved there in the 1960s, Brookview Road was still gravel. When he and wife Peg, an Iowa native, bought a home near Brynwood mall in 1984, “to the east was all cornfields.”

The couple yearned for more of the same when they built on five acres in Audobon Estates in Boone County in 1995.

“It’s the nature, the wildlife. Boone County gives the kids opportunities for activities they wouldn’t necessarily have in Rockford — hiking in the neighborhood, playing in the creek, go-carting around the yard,” Reilly said. “You feel a little bit like you’re getting away from it all, but you’re not really. It’s an easy drive to get milk or rent a movie, and it’s an easy commute.”

Reilly’s daughter attends Rockford Christian High School; his two sons are at Holy Family Catholic School. They still attend church at Holy Family and shop at the Hilander grocery at Brynwood.

“Even though we live in Boone County,” he said, “our community is Rockford.”

Like settlers of the American frontier or immigrants from foreign soil, for that matter, transplants to Boone County seldom come alone. Often they have family, friends or neighbors who follow.

Randy and Sandra Stockwell bought an 1879 farmhouse on Caledonia Road in 1988. They’re atypical of many Chicago-area transplants in that they aren’t into new construction. The family also didn’t move from the suburbs, but rather made the leap straight from Chicago, where they lived in a three-story brick home on the northwest side.

When the Stockwells began renovating the old farmhouse, the youngest of their daughters was 2; she turned 19 in April. In the intervening years, Sandy’s parents and Randy’s mother joined their children and grandchildren in Boone County.

“My parents would come and visit, just to take a drive on Sunday,” Sandra said. “And they’d end up staying a week or two.”

Bob and Joan Sturlin bought a small farm a mile north of the Stockwells; Randy’s mother, Lorraine Stockwell, lives in a Belvidere apartment.

Sandra isn’t pleased with Boone County’s rapid development, which threatens to destroy its rural charm.

“There’s a lot more traffic on the roads, I’ll tell you that. There’s a rush hour here now, which blows my mind,” she said. “Most of the people living here are trying to maintain a suburban life, and it’s chipping away at the beauty of this area. They want everything they had in the suburbs — their little strip malls and their sprinkling systems.

“Why use up all this land for these cookie-cutter homes? We jumped over the suburbs for a reason.”
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here's another installment in the series on Boone County, according to estimates, roughly 20% of the county may be Mexicans. Are Mexican-Americans the new sprawlmasters????

Boone's 'little Mexico'
About 80 percent of Boone County's Hispanic residents live in Belvidere; most are from Mexico

By ROBERT BAXTER, Register Star Boone County Bureau
>> Click here for more about Robert

BELVIDERE — Teen sisters Alejandra and Giselle Lara can’t remember the last time they missed dinner with the family at their Boone County home.

They call it an hour of sharing the day’s events and talking about what lies ahead, where the family, without hesitation, reinforces the loving commitment they made to each other long ago.

Being with family is part of an unmistakably strong Latino heritage that dates back generations in places such as South America and Mexico, their father Javier Lara says. The Laras also believe in giving back to the community, a tradition they take great pride in and one they believe will lead to a “better life for all.”

Other Hispanics in Belvidere and Boone County share the same commitment to hard work, family and community.

“It’s been in the blood for generations,” said longtime Belvidere resident and business owner Carlos Martinez. “We are always together; we are taught from an early age to respect our parents and grandparents. We are a family.”

As Boone County’s population soars, the number of Hispanics also has increased drastically. The Latinos bring with them new ideas, valuable old traditions and a growing presence that is being recognized and embraced by others.

Today, estimates show as many as 8,500 Hispanics living in Boone County. That is up from 7,157 in 2003 and 5,219 recorded three years earlier during the U.S. Census.

The arrival of Boone County’s southern neighbors began in earnest in the 1970s, said Ruben Hernandez, whose impact in Belvidere has included the City Council, School Board and formation of ALERTA, a Hispanic advocacy group.

Hernandez said bringing together the new Hispanic community and longtime Anglo residents presents many ongoing challenges. But both populations can learn from each other and together make Boone County a better place to live, work and play.

“I see history in the making,” Hernandez said. “We are bridging a cultural gap. It will always be there but I see great progress being made.”

‘Little Mexico’

About 80 percent of Boone County’s Hispanics live in Belvidere.
Some on the street speak English. Many don’t but are polite as they smile and nod, lessening the importance of any language barriers that may exist.

A visual count finds 19 Hispanic businesses in about seven blocks of downtown along South and North State streets.

Locals sometimes refer to the area as "Little Mexico," with its colorful array of Mexican restaurants, groceries and other Hispanic businesses.

Paula Britos, manager at El Centenario market, has noticed the influx of new people, in particular Hispanics.

"In five years, I have seen it," she said. "More and more are coming in, but they don't just live downtown. They drive, walk here from other areas (of the city and the county). Now, they are everywhere."

At La Canasta grocery, owners Katie and Genaro Hernandez cater to Hispanics with their own line of spices and other food items created last October and shipped from Mexico.

"They often look for things from their homeland, like certain bananas," Katie said. "It has to be a certain one. When they find them, they will take with them a little extra."

In summer, long lines of people gather near the meat counter to get their fill of skirt steak, which some compare to strips of lean, tender steak that could be used in fajitas.

Mexican families often use the meat on the grill in the summer as they gather to celebrate special events or simply appreciate being together, the Hernandezes said.

"We would have 20-minute waits," said Genaro, as he talked about last summer's lines as employees hand-carved and packaged the delicacy. This year, additional refrigerated meat cases are being installed so packages of the special meat can be made ahead of time.

"We want to be able to provide better service to our customers," he added. "We opened this store eight years ago. The first couple of years were leaner. We have 100 percent more people coming in today."

Among its new customer base: white residents and some African Americans who previously were scarce inside the store.

Their son, Mario Hernandez, 22, a full-time employee at the store and Rock Valley College student nights, recognizes the changes.

"We are seeing more customers and more Anglo and African Americans," Mario said. "I want to say in the past two years is when the diversity has started to come more and more."

It's a cultural oasis of sorts that some say could spawn greater understanding among people from very different backgrounds.

"There will always be differences and biases," said Ruben Hernandez. "But as long as we have two-way communication and work on understanding each other's differences, this will work and we will maintain this cultural bridge we are building."

A helping hand

Alejandra Lara gently grabs the hand of a young boy she is helping to learn English. She smiles softly and congratulates him as he squirms in his chair, getting set for the next lesson.

Lara, 17, volunteers with ALERTA, a Hispanic advocacy group working to provide services to Hispanics, many of whom don't speak English and don't know where to go for help, yet want the best for their children.

"Some of these kids have parents that don't speak English at home," said Alejandra "Allie," who with her sister Giselle and father, Javier, and high school friends volunteer Mondays and Wednesdays at Belvidere's Lincoln Elementary School.

Up to 20 kids gather for help with school there. Mom Adriana Lara attends classes at NIU.

"We didn't have that problem; our parents spoke English at home," Allie said. "Some of the poorer families in particular, they really need this help."

"If it means one hour of speaking English, that is one more hour than they would get at home," said Giselle.

The Laras moved to Belvidere in 2003 from the Bloomington area. Javier, an engineering supervisor at DaimlerChrysler, was transferred for his job. In a short time, the family has worked to make a difference in the Belvidere community by volunteering their time to help others. They believe by making each generation of Hispanics stronger and better educated, everyone around them will benefit.

"You carry the generation behind you and in front of you, always," said Javier Lara, whose roots trace back to Mexico City. "Every time you travel outside the U.S., it's becoming very common for people to be bilingual, even speak three languages. In my opinion, the schools all need to have it. We need to encourage it for everyone because it is becoming a global issue.”

In the 1960s and 1970s, Mexican immigrants, some from south of the U.S. border, others from Texas, made their way north to Boone County where manual labor jobs were plentiful and pay was good at companies like General Mills Green Giant.

Among those who made the early trek was Ruben Hernandez, who arrived in 1967. Hernandez was a pioneer; he would become the city’s first Hispanic alderman in 1989 and a School Board member. He would also create the Boone County office of ALERTA, a Hispanic advocacy group.

Hernandez estimates that when he went to Belvidere there were only 10 Hispanic families. That number rose quickly in the 1970s and 1980s as good words about Boone County reached friends and relatives back home.

What followed was upheaval for some of those arriving and for those who had been born and raised in Belvidere. For the Mexican immigrants, there was little in the way of services and shops to meet their needs.

There also was a significant language barrier and racism, which often fostered harmful stereotypes. Hernandez attributes those incidents to a lack of understanding between two cultures that previously had not been exposed to each other.

“I think you will always find people that are racist in one form or another,” said Hernandez. “We encountered some issues with people calling racial slurs, but we never really thought too much about it.”

Hernandez said language barriers continue to be a problem for many Hispanics. Throw in Belvidere’s well-known “conservative” political slant and the stage has been set for a “cultural education” that continues to evolve.

Carlos Martinez arrived in Belvidere in 1980. He and his wife, Raquel, moved away twice before returning for good in 1994.
The owner of Three Com Drywall, which can employ up to 30 people during busy times, Martinez and his wife recently opened a sports bar in Belvidere, La Cantina Bar and Grill on Buchanan Street.

“We came here the first time from El Paso, Texas,” said Carlos Martinez. “There were lots of good jobs, good work. My aunt had lived here for a long time. I could make triple the money here that I made in Texas.”

For Raquel Martinez, it was the quality of life, the “green, quiet, rural,” setting here that brought the family back a final time.

They were willing to look past any hardships they may face to make sure their children, daughter, Erit, and son, Carlos Jr., were given opportunities they never had.

“It is a good atmosphere here,” said Raquel Martinez.

Belvidere’s growing reputation as a “family oriented” community continues to draw new generations of Hispanics from the south, and most recently, from the Chicago suburbs, Ruben Hernandez said.
Maggie Ortiz moved to Belvidere from Elgin to get her children away from the temptations of gang life and other big-city problems.

“When you have a teenage son or daughter, it is a big concern,” she said. “It has been a positive move overall. There is nothing I miss. When I go back there and visit friends and come back, I thank God we moved here.”

For Eric Gonzalez, 18, a move from Indiana nine years ago was devastating. He did not like the idea of moving from a larger city to a smaller one.

Gonzalez said when he first moved to Belvidere, there was a lot of racism in neighborhoods. But things have gotten much better, he said.

“I don’t see much racism anymore, but I do see people who are confused about who they really are, what they are and what we are,” he said. “Before, you were singled out. Now, you still have some people pointing at you.”

Overall, Ruben Hernandez believes things have improved.

“As I see it, it began in 1989 when I was elected to the City Council,” said Hernandez. “The Anglo community elected me. At that time, some Anglo people in business wanted to reach out to us but did not know how.

“One of the first things I did when I was elected was get both sides to begin to reach out and try to understand each other’s cultures.”

Family is numero uno

Friday night, when many teens are heading out to the movies, parties or the mall, Giselle and Allie Lara first must sit down to dinner with mom, Adriana, and dad, Javier, at their Boone County home.

It’s a “golden hour” of time that plays itself out at the dinner tables of Hispanic families across the Rock River Valley.

That doesn’t mean that Allie and Giselle won’t still go to the movies, after-school activities and out with friends, but they must first settle in for a good meal and meaningful talk with mom and dad.

“Asking to be excused from dinner is not an option,” Allie laughs.
“I don’t think I ever had a day when I didn’t have a family dinner,” Giselle remarks.

Talk with Hispanics across Boone County from all walks of life and you find one central theme; family is numero uno, number one.
Just ask Maggie Ortiz, mother of two.

“We take care of our families,” she said. “In our culture, we are just a lot closer. None of that has changed since we moved here. We look for any excuse to get together.”

Eric Gonzalez said the respect he has for his parents, Edward and Lydia, runs deep. It began with his grandparents and continues from generation to generation.

“My grandpa was, I don’t want to say strict, but kept us well grounded,” said Eric. “I have friends who don’t treat their parents with the same respect I do. But I think some of that has to do with where you came from, what block you grew up on. I grew up where my whole block was a family and other parents would yell at me for messing up.”

Despite running two businesses with dozens of employees, Carlos and Raquel Martinez say they always find time for family.

“We talk, we work together, we get together, we make sure of that,” said Raquel, who has been married to Carlos for 27 years. The couple have two children. “It can be to drink the coffee. For cookouts, birthdays, weekends or when somebody you know needs your help. It’s about love.”

Carlos Martinez says it’s all about respect for each other, respect for a God-given bond that transcends time.

Martinez offered one last example of Hispanic family pride and respect.

“One day, I yell to my son at work and one of the other employees said, don’t let him talk to you that way, you are a big boy,” Martinez said. “You can hit him, beat him up. My son said, I would first cut my hands off; I would never hit my father.”
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I give it about 20 years (or maybe less) when Greater Chicago will also include the Rockford area. At about the same time, The Milwaukee area will also merge with Chicago. It's only a matter of time.:)
chicagogeorge said:
I give it about 20 years (or maybe less) when Greater Chicago will also include the Rockford area. At about the same time, The Milwaukee area will also merge with Chicago. It's only a matter of time.:)

By mid-century, Chicago will anchor an American Golden Horseshoe running from Grand Rapids to Green Bay, with 20-25 million people :)
marathon said:

By mid-century, Chicago will anchor an American Golden Horseshoe running from Grand Rapids to Green Bay, with 20-25 million people :)
Thats a huge sprawl space...

I guess thats means I-90 from Rockford to Chicago should be 6+lanes not the 4 rural lanes right now.

I guess the sprawl is getting more out of control than Miami now.
marathon said:

By mid-century, Chicago will anchor an American Golden Horseshoe running from Grand Rapids to Green Bay, with 20-25 million people :)
It' might take longer than 50 years for that to happen. At any rate Milwaukee, Rockford, South Bend, Madison are all in our paths within the next 30-40 years at most.
chicagogeorge said:
It' might take longer than 50 years for that to happen. At any rate Milwaukee, Rockford, South Bend, Madison are all in our paths within the next 30-40 years at most.
Chicago doesn't have to do all the work. Green Bay, Appleton-Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, Manitowoc, and Sheboygan will all coalesce with each other and with Milwaukee. Meanwhile Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor, South Bend, Elkhart-Goshen will do the same. The Chicago metro is already only a county away from those of Lafayette, Champaign-Urbana, and Bloomington-Normal.
Yeah but even being one county away, that doesn't mean that it's all urban. There is plenty of rural land in parts of the Chicago CSA- Will, Kenadall, McHentry, Kankakee, southern Lake/Porter Indiana. I think a Chicago-Miwaukee-Rockford-Gary-South Bend CSA in 2025 is very realistic. With 15-16 million people. Anything beyond that is speculation.
chicagogeorge said:
Yeah but even being one county away, that doesn't mean that it's all urban. There is plenty of rural land in parts of the Chicago CSA- Will, Kenadall, McHentry, Kankakee, southern Lake/Porter Indiana. I think a Chicago-Miwaukee-Rockford-Gary-South Bend CSA in 2025 is very realistic. With 15-16 million people. Anything beyond that is speculation.
Of course it's speculation. But if It can reach Rockford, South Bend, and Madison by 2025, 20 years from now, what's unusual about it reaching the other areas another 25 years further hence? A half century is a long time. Suburbia was in its infancy 50 years ago; look at it now.
I would think by then, environmental protection will curb sprawl. I mean how much valuable farmland can we destroy? There has to be a limit.
chicagogeorge said:
I would think by then, environmental protection will curb sprawl. I mean how much valuable farmland can we destroy? There has to be a limit.
That's speculation too ;)
I guess that's true.
Micropolitan areas will be the glue that seals the metros together ;)

....goddamit' thomas jefferson and that old funny fat guy ben franklin told us to

My God......I am sure the Lord himself wants us to despoil all his land in his honor just so we can light his landing path during the rapture

I hope you all starve terribly when the oil runs out.....seeing there will be no farm land left, but plenty of shit exurban siza hovels housing gaunt peasants
why do people get so excited about sprawl and the merging of mil-mad-rock-chic. First of all, that will never completely happen! And also, why would you support growth out..growth up would be a much better scenario taking place! Milwaukee has been hurt by sprawl so sucks. I'd rather grow up than out, but apperantely you love no skyscrapers and you love chicago rockford having stupid housing pockets all over the place!
"Are Chicago and Rockford growing into each other?"

Go to

type 'Riley' for the city and 'IL' for state

click 'Aerial Image' in upper righthand corner of viewscreen

alas, you shall see that Rockford and Chicago, based on past growth trends and reasonable estimation, will grow into each in about 100-200 years

I hope you all starve terribly when the oil runs out.....seeing there will be no farm land left, but plenty of shit exurban siza hovels housing gaunt peasants
Nah, cars aren't going anywhere. By the time oil gets ready to run out another fuel will be invented, if it hasn't been already, to keep the cars running.
Im suprised no one has mention Madison-Rockford growing into eachother. Talk about a city booming on the charts: janesville.
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