Rockford Park District Receives Grant for Improvements to Sabrooke Park

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The Rockford Park District has been named to receive a $241,300 State of Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant awarded by Governor Pat Quinn.

The OSLAD grant will assist the Park District with much-needed improvements to Sabrooke Park (2900 Kishwaukee St., Rockford) to enhance patron safety and enjoyment. This grant award will fund 50% of the planned improvement costs. The total project cost is $482,730. In partnership with the Park District, the Rockford Housing Authority has also committed $100,000 for the completion of this project. The remaining costs will be funded through the Park District’s capital improvement project budget. Construction could begin as early as this fall.

Sabrooke Park will be relocated from land currently leased from ComEd to an adjacent parcel of similar size immediately north of the existing playground. This property is owned by the Rockford Housing Authority (RHA) and on June 11, 2013, the Rockford Park District board of commissioners approved a resolution to enter into a long-term lease agreement with RHA. Park amenities will include such things as: improved accessibility, sustainable design elements, playground, shelter, drinking fountain, community garden, multi-use sport field, full-size basketball court, and paths. Adjacent to this property is the Orton Keyes Housing Development, a Head Start facility, and the Boys & Girls Club.

“We have worked with the Rockford Housing Authority for many years, and together we have created the conceptual site plan for this playground, and received very positive public input. With a long-term lease for the site, we will relocate Sabrooke Park and continue to serve the residents of Orton Keyes Housing Development, the surrounding neighborhoods, and expand our partnership with Head Start and the Boys & Girls Club. We are extremely grateful to Governor Quinn, the Department of Natural Resources, and local legislators for their advocacy and support of this project,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Tim Dimke.

Rockford Housing Authority CEO Ron Clewer said, "Rockford Housing Authority has always had a wonderful relationship with Rockford Park District, and both agencies recognize the value of recreation in our community. We are excited to work with them on this amazing park that will benefit all of southeast Rockford, including Orton Keyes. We can think of no better way to bring together our residents and the neighborhoods in this area. The introduction of this park will strengthen neighborhood ties, and foster a greater sense of community; we are thankful to Governor Quinn for this collaborative opportunity."

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