Twelve years later that "brainchild" has the right financial backing. On Monday the Village of Rockton was ready to redevelop an area that's been nicknamed “the prized jewel.”
It's just a pile of dirt now, but fast forward about four months and you have Settlers Park. This was an idea that Bill Vedra, the former Rockton mayor, thought of years ago.
Vedra says, "Settlers Park was all developed at one time as an industrial area so it seems fitting to open it back up and let the public have access to it."
Current Village President Dale Adams agrees.
Adams states, "We are finally reclaiming the riverfront. About six to seven years ago this was overgrown weeds. It was a dumping ground."
The site along the river just off of Haywick Street is already a site where many gather for Old Settlers Days. The 12 acres of land will have a revamped softball field and soccer field. There will be a multi-sport court with b-ball in the summer and ice skating in the winter. It's hard to imagine now but come October or November there will be plenty of feet in motion. Once Settlers Park is completed there will be a mile long recreation path for everyone to use.
Tom Graceffa is the landscape architect for the project.
Graceffa tells 23 News, "It’s one of main visual activities sort of the ancillary part of this is as you cross the bridge coming from the south. This park is the gateway park into the Village of Rockton."
It seems that many are vying to claim a spot along the river. Rockton Granary Development is comprised of retail shops on the bottom and eight condos on the top. Already two are sold and there's quite a lengthy waiting list.
Graceffa says, “River access has always been a magnet.”
Since these two developments compliment one another it's only fitting that the two will be complete at about the same time this fall.
Once Settlers Park is complete, all efforts will shift to funding Rockton Athletic Fields. The Athletic Fields will feature six baseball diamonds, six soccer fields, a football field, a concession area, a playground and a two-mile walking path.