Rockford Park District explains changes in new proposal

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A new proposal outlined by the Rockford park District aims to alter a number of facilities to meet community needs. Minimizing the parks’ footprint is the main objective.

Pak District Officials say the changes are necessary in order for the organization to stay relevant.

“Our current park district that you see today, guys, is a park district for a community that lived here 30 years ago,” said Jay Sandine, Rockford Park District’s executive director.

Rockford Park District Executive Director Sandine is putting forth a number of recommendations that would reduce the organization’s footprint in order to improve the park district as a whole.

“We’re doing our best to listen and follow through on what we hear from our taxpayers, and we really need to get money into our neighborhoods for our kids,” said Sandine.

The next steps, inspired by results of a 2018 community-wide survey, could include investing in trails, expanding a number of parks, and combining facilities that are offered in multiple neighborhoods. For example, ice rinks.

“Quality over quantity is what we’re trying to get to. Less things at a higher quality,” Sandine explained.

One recommendation suggests shutting down the Riverview Ice House in order to free up funds to upgrade the Carlson Ice Arena.

“It is cheaper, way way less expensive to be able to tack on one sheet to Carlson Ice Arena than it is to basically start from scratch at Riverview,” said Sandine.

Similar changes could be in place for RPD golf courses. Elliot Golf Course in Cherry Valley is next on the chopping block after plans to close Sinnissippi Golf Course were rerouted by local golfers.

“‘Save Sinnissippi’ group came along and they absolutely crushed it. The amount of people playing golf at Sinnissippi, the new leagues, the new outings, the high school kids coming out, it’s a beautiful story and we feel there is enough demand to keep Sinissippi,” Sandine added.

The full list of recommendations will be presented to the Rockford park Board on October 13th. Members are scheduled to vote on the actions this winter.

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