Exciting park renovations headed to New Milford

Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 6:13 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Swings swaying in the wind, a slide baking in the sun, creaking see-saws and an empty basketball court. It’s a lonely sight in Upper Park, but not for long.

Local leaders gathered in the soon-to-be thriving park and announced all kinds of features heading their way. Game courts, fitness stations, walking paths and new playground equipment are just some of what is to come.

“I can envision behind me where families will be able to come now and have lunch and watch their kids play and, you know, have a good time,” Tim Owens, village president says. “Where now not a lot of people take advantage of the park.”

The Rockford Park District collaborated with the Village of New Milford to make these renovations possible. Owens says these renovations will make the space more accessible and safer for families.

“We’ve been waiting for good things to come to our community for a long time and unfortunately we haven’t received that,” Tim Owens says. “I truly believe that if it wasn’t for the park district reaching out and offering their support to help us with this it would never happen.”

While the park is currently known as Upper Park, it was left up to New Milford residents to decide it’s new name, “Victory Park.”

State Representative Maurice West secured an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant for the project through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). West believes the project unites Rockford with all the smaller communities in Winnebago County and proves all communities are equally valuable. He proclaims this is the first of many victories for New Milford.

“When we make the renovations it’s gonna say, hey, we value this community, come play in your park,” West says. “That’s one step for me, in terms of our development as a community so I’m excited for that.”