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Rockford Park District pauses plans to close Riverview Ice House

Officials say it’s going to take a steady revenue stream to keep the ice rink running.
Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 4:07 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Plans to close the 45-year-old Riverview Ice House in downtown Rockford are halted after members of the “Save Riverview Ice House” group voiced their disapproval.

“It really stands as an important sign that we need right now in the face of COVID and all the other challenges we have that we’re going to keep moving forward, and we’re going to do good work together and we can ultimately do things together that we could never do alone," said former Rockford mayor Larry Morrissey.

Rising costs to keep Riverview running drove the proposal to consolidate rinks at Carlson Arena in Loves Park. An idea that sparked controversy around the Stateline.

“It doesn’t matter if we talk about having to reduce or repurpose an ice facility or a golf course or anything there’s going to be people who are concerned about that," said Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine.

Sandine says a survey from 2018 showed residents didn’t want their tax dollars going to individual pay to play facilities like Riverview.

“What they told us is they want their tax dollars going to more community benefit type things things that everybody does neighborhood parks, playgrounds, youth programs in the neighborhoods, paths," said Sandine.

But, not everyone feels that way. Save Riverview Ice House members hope they can find a solution to keep the downtown rink running.

“Being able to enhance programming there that’s a very powerful sign and a much needed sign of hope and encouragement and support for our community," said Morrissey.

Sandine says the park district will need to secure a steady revenue fund by the end of the year to keep Riverview open otherwise the proposal to close it will be back on the table.

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