It's no secret that the Rockford Park District is a hot mess right now, but it's not really their fault. State funding is down. Attendance at Park District attractions is down. Operating and maintenance costs are up. Sadly, cuts and changes need to be made, and I do not fault the Park District for it. They are just trying to do what they need to do in the best way they know how....asking for the public's input and help.

For months now the Rockford Park District has been asking for the public's input on their recreational wants and needs. They have been holding public community engagement sessions to see what matters most to Rockford's tax payers, and they are entering the final stages of preparing their Master Plan for the future of the Rockford Park District. At this point, two things are for sure: there is no plan to ask for a property tax increase, and further downsizing of Park District assets needs to happen.

So what does this downsizing entail exactly? Selling spaces and land that don't have "recreational value" according to the Rockford Park District and the Rockford Register Star. 

The RRStar reports that "land at Mercyhealth Sportscore Two on East Riverside Boulevard in Loves Park went up for sale recently", and  "Ten acres of park district-owned land west of Perryville Road and south of Guilford Road has been for sale for several years".

Selling unused land won't be enough though. Jay Sandine, Executive Director of the Rockford Park District recently told the RRStar;

The district’s golf courses also have become a concern.

Rounds played at the park district’s five courses declined from 270,000 in 1998 to 125,000 in 2016. Golf fee revenue is down nearly 30 percent since 2000, and the district’s golf courses are no longer profitable.

Public meetings will be held this summer to discuss the realities of golf and the park district, Sandine said.

“I am hopeful that the golf community is really going to step in and support to a higher level so that we don’t have to make recommendations to reduce our number of golf courses,” he said. “If not, it’s probably going to be part of the recommendation if we don’t feel there’s a substantial commitment to either increase revenues or decrease costs in golf.”

Basically, the future of Rockford's golf is literally in our hands, or more specifically in this case, our clubs. Put them to good use now at ROCKFORD courses.

Catch Lil Zim on ‘Q98.5 Mornings with Lil Zim & JB’ on Q98.5 from 5:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow her on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook


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