ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Rockford Park District announced Monday that it would be expanding the borders of the Rockford City Market space into Waterside Park in an effort to enforce rules against public disturbances.
As stated in Rockford Park District’s Code of Ordinances, “no person or persons may interfere with the intended use, enjoyment, peace, good order, or condition of the park, facility, or amenity intended for a specific purpose.”
The Park District said Monday: “Lawlessness, aggression, bullhorns, or sirens will not be tolerated when using public spaces and will be enforced by Rockford Park District Police, along with City of Rockford and Winnebago County.”
Rockford City Market was canceled last Friday after several weeks of anti-police protesters had gathered outside the area with bullhorns, speakers and sirens to disrupt the event and bring attention to alleged acts of police brutality by the Rockford Police Department.
Protesters still gathered on E. State Street and Water Street on Friday and blocked traffic, which resulted in several arrests.
The Park District and the City say they have agreed to a solution to allow for a barrier between City Market-goers and the protesters by allowing City Market to expand into Waterside Park, which is policed and maintained by the Park District, for the remainder of the season.
“We believe that neighborhood parks should remain open and free for the public to use. People have the right to assemble and their right to free speech. We ask that people respect the parks and keep them free from illegal activity or inappropriate behavior. We urge protestors to keep the parks free from profanity, vulgarity, and adhere to the park ordinances which is exactly what is happening at Food Truck Tuesday at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens. It is our belief that dialogue is needed during this time. Dialogue can lead to a better understanding which can hopefully lead to trust. Trust can then lead to change and we are committed to doing our part in creating a community that is free from racism and inequality. We are willing to lead this conversation regarding race relations and it is our desire to be a unifying organization and a catalyst for inclusiveness,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine.
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