Community members react to Rockford Park District’s 2020 action plan

Cuts, closures, and upgrades are all included in the plan.
Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 6:28 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -As the Rockford Park District feels the financial effects from COVID-19, officials say tough decisions had to be made.

The Rockford Park District also sits nearly $800,000 in debt, and on Tuesday night board members gave the green light on its 2020 action plan including some cuts and closures.

“These changes need to be made,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine. “Our community is very different now than what it used to be 10 to 20 years ago, so we as an organization must be willing to adapt.”

Some of the approvals include closing Elliot Golf Course and re-purposing MercyHealth Sportscore One into a flood plain. Decisions that Sandine said will help free up revenue to reinvest in facilities the community wants.

“They told us in 2018 that neighborhood parks are the most important thing to them, and we heard that feedback consistently,” said Sandine.

The 45-year-old Riverview Ice House was originally on the action plan to close, but thanks to a grass roots effort, those plans have been paused. Now the community is working to save it for good.

“We have a strong vision for the future that also can meet the financial requirements that the park district has to have met in order to move forward as an organization to serve all of its constituents,” said former Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey.

The Rockford Park District also plans for upgrades in a number of parks including Lockwood, Levings, and Atwood.

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