Guest Column: Oxford Park endangered
By Michelle Baie
One of Rockfords park areas is for sale and could be developed for industrial use or a parking lot. At the north end of Cumberland and Oxford streets and bounded on the north by the Rockford Country Club is a lovely playground known as Oxford Park. Since the 1920s, the park has been leased for $1 per year to the Rockford Park District by the Ingersoll Milling Machine Co. with its plant adjacent to the park. As the Ingersoll property is being sold off, Oxford Park is attractive to prospective buyers wanting more paved parking than is currently available around the Ingersoll buildings.
This reader suggests that the city can work with the buyer and the seller to develop additional parking on the wide strip of grass immediately north of the Ingersoll buildings along Willoughby Avenue. Also, the Ingersoll access road that is an extension of the north end of Cumberland Street has space on either side that can be developed for parking.
Rockford Park District is negotiating with the owner to purchase the park, but there is a wide gap between the asking price and the valuation determined by the park district. The park is in the 12th Ward, represented by City Council member John Beck, who wholeheartedly supports the park district acquisition of the park.
I hope Webbs Norman, executive director of the Rockford Park District, knows how important saving Oxford Park is to his constituents, especially the residents of the Edgewater neighborhood.
You can look for updates on the Oxford Park issue at www.rockfordnorthend.com .
Michelle Baie is a local resident who maintains a Web page for the North End Commons and Edgewater Neighborhood Association.