Shelter and Picnic Area Rental Frequently Asked Questions

We want to ensure you have the most enjoyable experience during your reservation, but know you might have additional questions. Please refer to questions below to help make sure you have everything you need during your shelter, picnic area, or gazebo rental.

Please note: some of the questions are shelter specific!


When do we have use of the shelter/ park area?

You have the shelter reserved for the day as listed on your receipt from 10:00 am-10:00 pm. Decorating, set‐up, or clean-up must be completed during the time you have the shelter or area reserved.

How will others be notified of my reservation?

If booked 48 hours before your reservation, a sign will be posted by our maintenance team at your shelter or park area to help notify others that the shelter has been reserved. This sign will include contact information if you should have any questions or concerns about your shelter.

Do I need a key for my shelter?

Martin Park requires a key for entry to the shelter. This can be obtained at one of our Customer Service locations for a refundable key deposit of $10.

The Olson Swedish Heritage shelter offers games and equipment. This key can be obtained for a $25 refundable key deposit. This is available by visiting one of our Customer Service locations.

As hours vary during the summer months for Customer Service, we ask that you pick up your key at least 48 hours before your reservation. Please note both Customer Service locations are closed on Sundays during the summer months. For hours of our locations, please visit our web site at

What types of decorations can be used at the shelters?

We ask that only temporary decorations are used at the shelters and are removed following your event. We asked that staples and other forms of possibly damaging materials are not used when decorating at the shelter.

Why is the capacity of our shelter important?

The capacity of your shelter is determined based upon the tables available for that shelter. We ask that if your capacity is expected to exceed this number, please contact Customer Service to see if there is another shelter available to best accommodate your needs.

When would I need a special use permit?

We require a special use permit for any bounce houses, DJs, community events, public meetings, tents, or any form of sound amplification. This can take up to two weeks to process, and may require a fee of $30+ for the permit. To get a special use permit, you must contact Customer Service at 815‐987‐8800 or click here to download the form. The staff will put you in contact with our special use permit coordinator. Please note: some parks do not allow sound amplification (DJ). Additionally, some parks do not have electricity.

If you do not obtain a special use permit for your event, you may be asked to discontinue the use of the items, and you would be responsible for any fines that may result due to ordinances.

Who is responsible for the set‐up of the shelter?

Our maintenance team will ensure your shelter is cleaned and ready for use by approximately 10 am. If a restroom is available at your shelter, it will be unlocked, and is available for public use.

How many items can I plug into my shelter?

At the shelters that allow electricity, one electrical household item per outlet can be supported by the electricity on site. We ask that you do not use power strips with additional outlets at the shelter. Examples of household items include: crockpot, coffee pot, and radio. We would recommend for any expected additional use of electricity outside of a general household item per outlet that you work with the special use coordinator, as this may require a special use permit, and/or it may be recommended that you obtain a generator to ensure that there are no electrical outages.


Should I bring my shelter or park area permit with me the day of my reservation?

Yes, bringing your reservation can assist in the event that there is a need to verify your reservation.

What can we do if our reservation needs to be cancelled due to the weather?

With having an outdoor event, there is a risk that there may be inclement weather. In the event that your reservation is cancelled due to this reason, please call Customer Service within 48 hours following your reservation. Although refunds are not provided due to inclement weather, we would be happy to reserve a future date based upon the shelter’s availability.

What do we do if someone is using our reserved park area, or shelter?

If someone is currently using your reserved shelter or park area, we will make our best attempts to resolve the issue. We ask that we are notified the day of the event by calling Customer Service to allow us the chance to make any needed adjustments.

Can tables be moved during the reservation?

We ask that tables are not moved during your reservation; this is to ensure we are compliant with ADA requirements and to prevent any damages that may occur to the shelter during transporting.

Are alcoholic beverages allowed in the parks?

No beer, liquor, or any alcoholic beverages shall be brought onto or consumed upon the premises, or be in the possession of any member of the party, unless otherwise permitted.

What type of grills can be used at the shelters?

Only portable, charcoal grills may be used at the shelter. Gas and propane grills are prohibited.

Who is responsible for the clean-up of the shelter?

As our maintenance staff members work hard to ensure cleanliness, we ask that you assist by picking up any excess items from your shelter. Trash bags can be left in the cans, and will be picked up by our maintenance team. To ensure that the parks remain beautiful for the use of the community, vandalism of the shelter could result in a fine and/or restricted use of shelters in the future, based upon the circumstance.


Do we need to bring trash bags?

Trash bags are not required, however, we suggest bringing a few trash bags in case your trash exceeds the number of trash cans available at your park area or shelter.

Are restrooms and electricity available at the shelter?

Not all shelters have restrooms and electricity. Some shelters may have port-o-lets rather than flushable toilets. Although port-o-lets are at the shelter, these port-o-lets may be available for youth summer programs only. To ensure your event goes smoothly, please review your receipt, which will reflect the amenities of your shelter.

Are lights available at the shelter?

Some shelters have lights available. Shelter lights are generally on an automatic dusk-to-dawn timer. If the lights are not automatic, there will be access to a switch, or the lights will be turned on by our maintenance team before your arrival.

Can port-o-lets, additional tables, or tents be provided by the Rockford Park District?

The Rockford Park District chooses not to compete with the private sector. Occasionally, additional equipment may be provided if the event is considered a community-wide function. For additional information, please contact our Customer Service staff.

Will I have water during my reservation?

If there is a restroom or water spigot, water is available for public use at your shelter. However, due to seasonal weather changes, we cannot guarantee access to water before the third week of April, or after the second week of October. This could affect your use of the flushable toilets as well.


What is the refund policy for shelters?

We understand that for reasons beyond your control, you may wish to cancel your reservation and request a refund. The refund policy for shelter and park area permits is as follows:

  1. After permit is issued, a refund is available up to 14 days before the reserved date.
  2. Rain-out dates cannot be refunded. However, a second date can be reserved without charge if applied for within 48 hours after the rain date.
  3. If you must cancel within the 14 days, the refund can be processed for a new shelter reservation, in the form of a credit to your household, or as a gift card for future use at the Rockford Park District.


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.


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

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