Community and Rockford Park District teams up to rebuild Oxford Park

Renovating Oxford Playground
Renovating Oxford Playground(Stephanie Quirk)
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 10:44 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - When Cassie Pike moved to Rockford seven years ago, she was sure of one thing. That is, to raise her children in a community with parks nearby, where her kids could expand their imagination in a happy and safe manner.

“That’s what parks do, parks build community, and especially after Covid that’s what we need right now,” said Edgewater Neighborhood Association Board Member Cassie Pike.

Oxford Park is the closest playground to Pike’s home, and instead of being a place she could let her kids play freely, it’s quite the opposite.

“My blood pressure really got up when I learned my one and two year old could be playing with broken glass,” said Pike. “I found wine bottles or at least some sort of liquor.”

But it wasn’t just the broken glass that fueled Pike’s concerns.

“There was holes and rust in some of the spots,” said Pike.

That’s when she decided to take action.

“I brought it up to the neighborhood safety association board,” said Pike.

Five years later, the board teams up with Rockford Park District to give Oxford Park, a makeover.

“Oxford park is one of our oldest and most heavily used in the neighborhood,” said Rockford Park District Landscape Architect Tom Lind. “The most important part, is having an active neighborhood that takes ownership in their park.”

Lind says it’s long overdue for the more than 20-year-old park to get a revamp. He also believes parents and kids playing a part on which design they believe is best, is a great way to get involved in the community.

“We’re raising kids to get more involved, and be a part of community,” said Pike.

The Park District has more than $165,000 budgeted for the new playground, which officials say is expected to be done by next summer.