Rockford Park District removes basketball hoops to help stop COVID-19 spread

Published: Apr. 2, 2020 at 6:12 PM CDT
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Although state and city leaders have urged the community to stay-at-home, the Rockford Park District continues to see large groups of people playing basketball at neighborhood parks.

"No more pick up games, no more private lessons,” said Winnebago County Chairperson Frank Haney.

Haney is disappointed to see so many people fail to practice social distancing.

"It is pathetic that our Rockford Park District has to remove basketball rims because some won't do the right thing," Haney said.

On Thursday the Rockford Park District removed 78 basketball hoops as its last resort to stop people from playing and spreading germs.

"25% of people who spread COVID-19 feel great," Haney said.

"Our police were and are overwhelmed with asking people to abide by the governor's order and practice social distance," said Rockford Park District Superintendent of Operations, Dan Jacobson.

The park district has also closed skate parks and playgrounds but Jacobson says it's challenging when you can't lock a door.

"Putting up police tape or temporary fencing like snow fencing is not really effective because people vandalize those things or tear them down,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson says park district police are monitoring those areas closely.

"We will be stepping up enforcement and we will likely have maintenance crews involved in that as well," Jacobson said.

Park district police could issue a citation if the state mandate is not followed.

"We're absolutely going to do whatever to make sure that we are protecting the safety of our citizens," Haney said.

If you do notice a large group of people at a neighborhood park contact the Rockford Park District Police non-emergency line at 815-966-2900.

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