Rockford Park District Agrees to Help Expand City Market Space
Last Friday Rockford City Market was cancelled to protect vendors and patrons from disruptive behavior protesters had displayed at the market in the previous weeks.
The cancellation also allowed the City of Rockford time to formulate a plan on how to move forward so that further City Markets would not need to be cancelled.
Part of that plan is to expand Rockford City Market's space to help create a "buffer" between Market patrons, vendor and staff members and protesters, This plan needs cooperation from the Rockford Park District and requires the closing of Joe Marino and Waterside Parks to allow the City Market to expand their space and, in turn, create the "safety buffer".
On Monday the Rockford Park District leaders and Board of Commissioners sent a press release explaining their decision to cooperate with this plan. The press release said;
The Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners is committed to keeping Joe Marino Park and Waterside Park open to the public. However, because of the dual ownership of Waterside Park between the Park District and the City of Rockford the Park District can justify allowing Rockford City Market’s boundaries to expand into Waterside Park on Friday nights for the remainder of the market season. Waterside Park is maintained by the Park District but the City of Rockford owns and operates Millennium Fountain inside the park.
The press release also said Joe Marino Park will remain open on Friday nights, and that "People have the right to assemble and their right to free speech. We ask that people respect the parks and keep them free from illegal activity or inappropriate behavior. We urge protestors to keep the parks free from profanity, vulgarity, and adhere to the park ordinances".
Rockford Park District Police will be patrolling the parks during City Market, and will not tolerate any "lawlessness, aggression, bullhorns, or sirens" in public spaces.