Rockford Park District
Helping People Enjoy Life!



Recap of Public Input Regarding 2020 Budget Recommendations

Thank you to the nearly 200 people who took time out of their night on October 8, 2019 to share thoughts, ideas, ask questions, advocate, and hopefully learn why this meeting even needed to happen!

We appreciate your passion for the Rockford Park District and appreciate that you are willing to help! We are a park district rich in history that was built through the generosity of its citizens, strategic partnerships, and dedicated team members. Even during the recession, we’ve been able to consistently provide outstanding park and recreational offerings to our community; however, with declining fee revenue and years of a declining tax base, along with population and demographic shifts, it is becoming more difficult to provide the same level of service without an increase in revenue or a decrease in our footprint. The District has been cutting and eliminating services for years in order to achieve a balanced budget.

Here is a list of what has been impacted over the years:

  • 30 free summer playground programs – District only has 10 now

  • Ceased operations of Forest City Queen for 2018 and 2019 season, seeking privatization

  • Reduced Trolley Car 36 schedule with sponsored rides only for 2018 and 2019 season

  • Closed Sand Park Pool for 2018 and 2019 season

  • Closed Harkins Aquatic Center two weeks earlier in 2018 and one week in 2019

  • Closed Standfield Beach at Levings

  • Reduction of one week of the free Music in the Park Summer Concert Series (8 weeks vs. 9 weeks)

  • Eliminated indoor swimming lessons

  • Eliminated support to over 100 community organizations (bleachers, picnic tables, showmobile, tents, etc.),

  • Eliminated Imagination Station and Cottontail Trail (free events)

  • Eliminated of Camp Lone Oak and Tween Scene/Summer Blast day camp

  • Eliminated sponsorships to community partners for summertime teen programs

  • Staff reductions (example golf department 2011 17 FTE versus 2019 10 ½ FTE)

We are at the point where the cuts are getting deeper and deeper as we have limited resources and lots of top priorities which include neighborhood parks, playgrounds, trails, and youth programs. These priorities came directly from you and were gathered last year during months of community engagement.

Click below to read an article from Executive Director Jay Sandine to learn more about the challenges facing the District.

In order to reduce a $1.2 million deficit for 2020 the following has been recommended to the Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners:

  • Permanent closure of Sinnissippi Golf Course

  • Suspension of operations at Snow Park at Alpine Hills

  • Suspension of operations at Alpine Pool

These recommendations were made early in the budget planning process so we can have critical conversations with team members, the Park District Board, and the community we serve regarding the future of the Rockford Park District.  No decisions have been made at this point. The Board of Commissioners is expected to make a decision about these recommendations, along with the tax levy will be made by the Board of Commissioners at the November 19, 2019 board meeting.

Click below to see the presentation which was given to outline various aspects of District funding, golf rounds, golf revenues/expenses, and capital needs.

Click below to see a breakdown of golf rounds from 2013 to September 2019. 

Sinnissippi Conceptual Drawings

If Sinnissippi Golf Course were to close the District would look to reinvest and repurpose the space while preserving various aspects of the history of this course.

See below for conceptual drawings of what could be done to repurpose the space and enhance Sinnnissippi Park and the surrounding neighborhood.


If you have any ideas or suggestions or need more information about the facts presented feel free to send us your feedback via the online form below.

Thank you for your continued support and involvement! We need you now more than ever!

Mike Costello