ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The days may be numbered for Rockford’s oldest public golf course as Sinnissippi is on the chopping block.
The Rockford Park District may close the course to save money.
Since the announcement, community members have rallied to protect the course from closure.
Two weeks ago, the District announced it needed to make drastic cuts to achieve a balanced 2020 budget as it faces at $1.2 million deficit.
Neighbors of the Sinnissippi Golf Course are banding together to save the course.
Jim McDowell started the Save Sinnissippi Golf Course community group on Facebook.
“We’re trying to create a public forum, public input, and public awareness<‘ McDowell said. “One of the problems we have is the communication back and forth between the Park District and the public. It’s very difficult to communicate information.”
McDowell says he has already had one community meeting to discuss what could be done for the facility.
His efforts caught the attention of Park District officials.
Jay Sandine, the Park District’s executive director, said, “When we found out there was a meeting, we reached out and asked if we could attend, and it was great. What I saw was people who care about their park.”
Sandine says the Park District is open to community feedback.
“We’re not afraid to have the discussion with any citizens. If they’re concerned, if they’re upset, if they’re happy, we don’t want to be the last to know,” he said.
Along with the golf course, the Park District is considering suspending Alpine Park Pool and the Snow Park at Alpine Hills, and are already considering what else could be done with the Sinnissippi property.
“Maybe Sinnissippi, if it does close, maybe it turns into a nice natural area with walking paths. Maybe it’s a central dog park. Maybe there’s disc golf opportunities. That’s a growing sport that we’re hearing from people and our feedback,” Sandine said.
McDowell believe there has to be a way to save the golf course he loves so much.
“We’re going to save this golf course. We’re going to find solutions that benefit Rockford. That’s what we’re going to do. I’m very optimistic,” he said.
The Park District’s board meets Tuesday night, say they’ll be talking more about what steps to take to deal with the deficit at a meeting on October 8th.
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