Sinnissippi Golf Course saved for 2020, park district provides updates

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The Rockford Park District says Sinnissippi Golf Course is set to stay open for at least another year.

"We pride ourselves on listening to the constituents we serve," says Ian Linnabary, Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners President. "And overwhelmingly people were respectful and said 'we want to help just give a little time.'"

The decision comes in response a budget recommendation to close Sinnissippi Golf Course after district officials announced the $1.2 million budget deficit for 2020.

The park district board of commissioners will wait at least another year to decide the fate of Sinnissippi Golf Course after an "outpouring of support" from community members to keep it open.

"It's just the beginning of that volunteer effort that's going to have to be successful in order for the long-term health and vitality of the golf course," Linnabary tells 23 News. "We're here to be a resource to them."

He says he is happy the commissioners decided to include the community and give them time to help.

“Citizens are asking for more time to help be a part of the solution regarding the District’s current financial challenges and we are listening," he says. "We have asked the District to hold off for one more year on any decisions regarding closing a golf course."

The recommendation was made at a board meeting on Sept. 10. It also called for the suspension of Snow Park at Alpine Hills and a potential suspension of the Alpine Pool next summer.

The park district started each of the last five years with a deficit of at least $1 million.

According to the Rockford Park District, community members have sent phone calls, emails and letters regarding the future of Sinnissippi Golf Course. Some have even started GoFundMe pages in an effort to keep it open.

"I grew up here," says Save Sinnissippi's Jim McDowell. "This is my backyard, I still live here. but most importantly is I learned to appreciate how great our parks all around Rockford are."

McDowell has lived in the area for 63 years. He says he knew once district leaders saw the sentimental value of the course they would give them a chance.

Now the group Save Sinnissippi will work together with the park district to find solutions to bring revenue and rounds played back to the course.

"Our goal is to get sponsorship revenue, and hopefully a lot of companies in town will pony-up in that area knowing that it is good for the town.," says Save Sinnissippi's Darryl Swanson.

The park district's board of commissioners held a news conference Wednesday afternoon to provide an update on last month's recommendation.

Watch a live-stream of the news conference below: