The Rockford Park District is updating it's strategic plan for it's future. By holding public meetings, they have revealed safety as the top priority on the minds of some residents.
Which means come this spring the district may ask voters to approve a referendum that would increase property taxes. Although the number is declining from previous years, the park district has faced more than eleven hundred incidents so far this year.
Some of the more serious include a body being found and four sexual assault reports. Incidents like these have prompted some residents to want more secure parks.
"My children use the park. And they like the bike path. So, if there's a problem I'd pay higher taxes in order to correct it,” says resident Perri Pohren.
And others don't want the higher taxes.
"I just had a tax increase. So, I really don't care to have another,” says resident Gladys Smith.
Taking in community members input, the park district has a list of priorities that they want to work towards.
"Safety, security. Maintaining all of our parks and facilities. Neighborhood based youth and family programs. New neighborhood parks in areas that don't have them. And then community projects are the five areas in priority order,” says Rockford Park District COO Tim Dimke.
You can voice your concerns about what the Rockford Park District's priorities should be at two meetings this week. A Tuesday meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the Cherry Valley Elementary School, and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Rockford’s Northwest Community Center. All are encouraged to attend.