Rockford residents speak out in hopes of saving Sinnissippi Golf Course

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Sinnissippi Golf Course, Rockford’s oldest green, could see permanent closure in its future. The move is an effort to help the $1.2 million deficit the Rockford Park District is facing.

Tuesday, over a hundred residents packed the Webbs Norman Center to oppose the idea.

“It’s not going to solve our problems by closing it,” said Rockford Park District advocate Jim McDowell. “So, why not try and rectify our problems by leaving it open?”

Executive Director Jay Sandine says Sinnissipi sees the lowest participation and is the easiest to re-purpose.

“[There could be] more walking and biking trails out at Sinnissippi,” said Sandine. “That’s a huge recreational trend in the country and locally. A dog park at Sinnissippi.”

Advocates don’t believe the numbers justify the closure.

“Does the neighborhood feel that this is what the property should be?,” asked McDowell. “Does the community feel this is what the property should be?”

McDowell says residents have plenty of ideas to help but they need time to implement them.

“We need to address the rates properly. There are proactive things that we need to do to improve the number of rounds played at Sinnissippi.”

Some residents questioned why Sinnissippi was being closed over Elliot Golf Course, but district officials say the S. Lyford Road course performs well and is the home base for youth golf programs.

“It’s the place for teaching kids how to play golf,” said Sandine. “We have a driving range, we have a practice hole, we have a large putting green.”

Sandine says in the end, the Rockford Park District is a park system and not a golf system.

“People need to understand the implications when we reduce youth programs in our neighborhoods, it’s not good, it has a negative consequence in our community.”

Snow Park at Alpine Hills and Alpine Pool in Rockford may also have to close operations next year. The park district is expected to vote next month on the closures.

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