Park Space and Recreational Facilities Meet the Needs of Residents

The Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners received and affirmed an annual report on their strategic priority for providing well-maintained park space and recreational facilities to meet the recreational needs of this and succeeding generations of District residents.

Rockford Park District Executive Director Tim Dimke said, “The Rockford Park District is committed to providing parkland and recreation facilities that are exceptionally maintained for their intended use and for the safety of users.  The District takes a long-term sustainable view, including assessment of population trends, economic viability, and geographic distribution to ensure that both the array of amenities and their proximity make park space and recreation essential to quality of life throughout the District, now and in the future. ”

For that reason, 100% of funds from the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget were applied to repair and replace existing assets; the District exceeded the Board directive that a minimum of 90% of the CIP budget is allocated towards repair and replacement projects.  2016 CIP repair and replacement projects to existing facilities included the following:

  • Snow Park at Alpine Hills development
  • Harmon Park playground replacement
  • Highland Park playground replacement
  • Riverfront Museum Park boat dock
  • Shorewood Park recreational path bridge replacement
  • Sinnissippi Park renovations OSLAD grant projects

Additional repair and replacement projects will continue into 2017, and include the following:

  • Alpine Hills creek bank restoration
  • Levings Lake water quality improvements
  • Sabrooke Park renovation
  • Sinnissippi Park Music Shell sound system

Expand indoor facilities for year-round use and further develop existing outdoor sports facilities that extend playing season:

  • UW Health Sports Factory opened June 2016
  • Mercyhealth Sportscore Two outdoor expansion completed in June 2016 which includes: five synthetic fields, concession/restroom plaza, parking area expansion, Aviators parking lost acquisition
  • Snow Park at Alpine Hills construction complete: hill regraded, surface lift installed, snow making machines and groomer purchased

Any park and facility acquisition and development will be primarily funded by non-property tax resources:

  • West State Street Linear Park Rotary Labyrinth
  • Rock River Recreation path lighting
  • Peace Plaza
  • Mercyhealth Sportscore Two outdoor expansion: five synthetic fields and concession/restroom plaza

Sustainability continues to be emphasized in development, construction, operation, repair and replacement, adaptive re-use, and/or retirement of parks and facilities throughout the District. Sustainability means to use resources (money, staff, materials, land, programs, partnerships, etc.) more efficiently, and in ways that benefit the environment, along with social and economic aspects of our community.  

In 2016, sustainability was exemplified in the following ways:

  • Coordinating the development of a short- and long-range plan for water quality at Levings Lake. Initiated study for long term storm water management.  Installed a turbidity curtain at Levings Lake to assist in the reduction of silt, and improved water quality into the lake
  • Installed universal accessible surfacing at Highland Park and the new Sinnissippi playground near the Music Shell
  • Replacement of Rock River Recreation Path lighting with new LED lighting
  • Installation of porous pavement at Discovery Center Science playground
  • Received sustainability awards from Winnebago County and Illinois governor
  • UW Health Sports Factory was awarded $213,950 in incentive rebates by Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for sustainable design incorporated into the building
  • Indoor Sports Center expansion on Mercyhealth Sportscore Two campus incorporates sustainable features such as LED lighting, radiant heat, tight envelope design, destratification fans, and high levels of control of energy-consuming devices
  • Atwood Park, Rock Valley Flight Field, and Wester Park accessible parking and path improvements
  • Drinking fountain improvements at Southwest Community Park, Beattie Playground, Wantz Playground, and Atwood Park
  • Met with Sun Peak Solar to determine feasibility/return of investment for Webbs Norman Center solar panels
  • 10 acres of park space converted to natural areas at Black Hawk Park, Midway Village Museum, Dennis School woods, Levings Lake, and Shorewood and Sinnissipp parks

Progress continues toward completion of the District’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan:

  • Added new accessible picnic tables
  • Replaced five inaccessible drinking fountains with accessible fountains
  • Corrected accessible route issues at Wester Park, Mercyhealth Sportscore One, and Magic Waters Waterpark
  • Created accessible parking and signage at Atwood Prairie 

Vision

For the Rockford Park District to be the best urban park and recreation system in North America, as measured by national standards and the citizens we serve.

Mission

To 'help people enjoy life' by providing a quality park and recreation system.

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