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Rockford is a mid-sized city located on both banks of the Rock River in far northern Illinois. Rockford is often referred to as "The Forest City" and is the county seat of Winnebago County, Illinois, USA. As reported in the 2000 U.S. census, the city was home to 155,115 people, while in the 2006 estimate, it is said to have a population of 168,138, making it the third largest city in Illinois after Chicago and Aurora. The metropolitan area has 339,178 residents as of the 2000 census. During the latter part of the 20th century Rockford was the second largest city in Illinois. The current mayor is Lawrence J. Morrissey, an independent elected to a four year term in April as of 2005.

The Rockford area is known as an outdoor destination, especially in the non-winter months. Numerous forest preserves surround the Kishwaukee River valley, five miles (8 km) southeast of the downtown area. Rock Cut State Park is located within the county to the northeast. Both the Rockford Park District and Winnebago County Forest Preserve District own and operate numerous golf courses as well. In fact, Golf Magazine called Aldeen Golf Club one of 50 excellent national golf courses one can play for under $50. Aldeen was ranked #38 in the nation in 2004.

Rockford's Anderson Japanese Gardens has been ranked the top Japanese garden in North America. The garden was designed by Hoichi Kurisu. The Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden is also a popular attraction. The facility contains 150 acres (0.6 km2) of rare trees and shrubs.

 

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