Roscoe Founders Park vision inches closer to reality

Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 9:06 PM CST
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ROSCOE, Ill. (WIFR) - Robert and Hannah Cross were the first non-native people to live in Roscoe nearly two centuries ago. Now their legacy will live on with a 17-acre project for Founders Park.

The cross family lived on Hononegah Rd. in Roscoe when they moved to the area in the 1830s. Now the Roscoe Township Historical Society will remodel the home into a museum. The community has raised more than $60,000 to help with the project.

“We’re looking forward to building a better future for the Roscoe residents,” says Phil Rhymer with the Roscoe Township Historical Society. “Rockton’s got their history. We are developing our history. And it’s very important to keep that history going.”

Rhymer says raising private funds is a challenge, citing rising costs and labor shortages. Another planned project for the park received a pair of grants from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources: a more than 3,300 square foot space near the home which will be used as a community center for educational programs and special events and includes a catering room.

“There are other facilities, larger facilities in the area, but we felt, you know, this would have the benefit of being available to residents along with all those educational programs that we’re going to be putting together,” says Bob Nowicki with Roscoe Township.

Nowicki says he shares the community’s excitement for seeing this Founders Park dream become reality.

“They’ve been watching the construction along Hononegah Rd. and we can’t wait till it can start to be utilized by the public.”

The community center should be open for events by spring 2023. The rest of the land will be used for a multi-purpose shelter, walking paths, community gardens and more.