One of the first articles I wrote after joining this newspaper was about the Bridge the Community run and its fund to develop the Rock Falls and Sterling riverfront.
It seemed like a simple way to set aside some money with the specific purpose of benefiting both cities. The money raised will be deposited into a fund and can be used only if a designated representative from both sides of the Rock River agree.
As a former and sometimes sports writer, I like to break down the numbers. So here we go. The race had 238 runners, more than 70 volunteers and about 50 children participate in the Fun Run prior to the 5K and 10K.
It raised $6,000 for the fund, organizer Jack Spencer said.
That won’t immediately transform the riverfront, but it’s $6,000 more than the fund had last week, and could be significantly more next year if Spencer’s optimism proves justified.
The timing chips for the race cost organizers $3,000, and are helpful in getting serious runners and a lot of runners to participate, Spencer said, adding that he was approached by people the day of the race offering to pay for the chips next year.
That extra $3,000, plus expanded participation and sponsorships that could come with a repeat event, could mean Spencer’s optimism is warranted.
While I wasn’t able to attend the race last week, I drove by the route on my way out of town and crossed the First Avenue bridge, the same bridge that served as a focal point of the run, fund and notion Spencer hopes the event benefited.
In addition to the bridge and route going through both cities, the day included mayors Bill Wescott and Skip Lee and runners from both cities and the rest of the Sauk Valley.
“That’s what we want to be,” Spencer said. “We want to bring the community together to work on this project.”
Sauk Valley Media reporter Matt Mencarini covers government and happenings in Sterling and Rock Falls. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 815-625-3600, ext. 529.