From a Rockford Park District news release, 5/22/20
ROCKFORD, IL – The Rockford Park District is “playing it safe” this summer due to the ongoing restrictions in place from the State of Illinois and local health officials to help mitigate the spread of Coronavirus. Due to these limitations, Alpine Pool, Harkins Aquatic Center, and Sand Park Pool will be closed for the season and the Park District’s free summer concert series “Sounds of Summer” has also been cancelled for the season. Since the start of this health emergency, the Rockford Park District has followed and supported guidelines and requirements established by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), State of Illinois, and Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) and will continue to do so in order to help eliminate this virus from our community.
The District has been working with local health leaders to determine if it’s safe to bring back certain park amenities, reopen facilities, or hold summer events as the Coronavirus is affecting communities in different ways. However, keeping public pools closed this summer is a trend that is happening all across Illinois with a variety of Park Districts making similar announcements. “With limitations on pool capacity, social distance requirements, and a lot of unknowns about the spread of COVID-19 in an aquatic setting, it is impossible to safely operate our pools. We know this is going to be devastating for area families who love to spend quality time together at one of the District’s pools. This will be especially hard on area youth who look forward to this summertime staple and a chance to learn how to swim which is a critical lifelong skill,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine.
With conventions, festivals, and large events not being allowed to take place in Illinois until Phase 5 of the Governor’s Restore Illinois plan, Sounds of Summer, the Rockford Park District’s free summer concert series has to be cancelled. This includes Music in the Park at Sinnissippi Music Shell, Live at Levings and Domingos en el Parque which normally takes place at Levings Lake Park, along with Tunes on the Terrace at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens. “It’s extremely hard for us to not be able to offer the chance for our community to enjoy and support a variety of local and regional artists. Music is therapeutic and brings our community together in unity to share a common interest but we have no choice as we have to trust and follow the rules established by state and national experts,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine.
Recreational Opportunities Begin to Reopen for Community Enjoyment
As our community moves into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois and Rockford Region Rebounding plan, pending all public health metrics we will begin to restore the following park amenities on May 30, 2020:
· Basketball rims
· Soccer nets
· Futsal nets
· Tennis nets
· Pickleball nets
· Disc golf cages
With more recreational opportunities reopening, the District is asking patrons to recreate responsibly to stay healthy and safe while enjoying outdoor areas and amenities. Please follow social distance guidelines and mask requirements established by the CDC, State of Illinois, and Winnebago County Health Department. Rockford Park District Police will continue to monitor parks and ask residents to call the non-emergency line at 815-966-2900 to report any large group gathering.
The Rockford Park District is currently finalizing youth and teen programming opportunities for the summer based on new local guidelines established for organizations like the Rockford Park District who have a critical impact on area youth especially during the summer months. Rockford Park District will continue to provide additional updates as needed regarding how Coronavirus is impacting the organization. Details about modified programs, lessons, camps, facility operations, golf courses, and additional park amenities will be shared next week. Additional information about what is open, suspended, and cancelled can be found at http://www.rockfordparkdistrict.org/playitsafe.