New boat dock dedicated

River District Association dedicated a new community asset July 2—a public boat dock located at the end of Mulberry Street on the west bank of the Rock River (behind the Rockford Public Library and the Morrissey Building).

Greatly used and praised during the Fourth of July celebration, the dock can accommodate up to eight boats and features banners sponsored by local businesses and solar lighting.

Amenities such as more banners, solar lights, and hydro-electric powered battery charging outlets and LEDs will continue to be installed over the summer.

For more than five years, River District Association has been fund-raising in various ways with the help of Editor and Publisher of The Rock River Times, former River District Board member and fund-raiser coordinator Frank Schier

“This dock is the prototype of three other docks we hope to be able to raise the funds for,” Schier said. “Those docks will be located at Waterside Park and Davis Park. Considering rising costs and the maintenance fund, each dock will cost close to $25,000, so please keep making those contributions to the Park District Foundation.”

The Rock River attracts boaters regionally, and River District Association now offers boaters a place to park their boats and walk to their office, the Rockford Public Library, one of the unique and locally owned restaurants or nightclubs, a favorite store, or a concert or show at the MetroCentre, Coronado, NAT or Davis Park.

“One way to boost the economy and increase activity in the River District is to provide more ways for people to get to the area. This new boat dock is intended to do just that,” said Kim Wheeler, executive director of River District Association.

Other speakers at the dedication were Chad Bryden, the City of Rockford downtown development manager; Nate Martin, president of the Rockford Park District Board; Elaine Harrington, executive director of the Rockford Park District Foundation: and Dr. Gautam Gupta, contributor and River District property owner.

Gupta noted that the dock was made possible by largely private initiative, and called for more such projects.

Schier agreed with Gupta’s comments and noted all of the relationships that were built throughout the project. He also praised the Park District for its excellent employees and service.

The dock was installed by Rock River Enterprises & Barge Inc., a local company whose owner, Steve Lucas, has shown his commitment to this project by going above and beyond expectations. He donated his time and material to put in a new bulkhead for the dock and has helped Rockford Park District staff in clearing debris from the dock as a result of the flooding over the past month.

River District Association gratefully acknowledges and thanks the Rockford Park District, which has agreed to own and maintain the docks and generously installed a paved path with landscaping from the sidewalk of the Luther Center Esplanade to the entrance of the dock.

Part of the agreement when River District handed over the dock to the Park District was that River District would set up a maintenance fund to help pay for repairs and upkeep. Contributions can be made and sent to Rockford Park District Foundation, c/o River District Boat Dock Maintenance Fund, 1401 E. State St., Rockford, IL 61107.

Fund-raising efforts continue, and $2,000 has already been collected for the east side boat dock fund. Send contributions for this to Rockford Park District Foundation, c/o River District Boat Dock Fund. Use same address as above. Contributions to the Rockford Park District Foundation are tax deductible.

Banner sponsorships are available for $500 for two years. Banners are two feet by four feet. The River District logo is on the top half while the sponsor logo is on the bottom half. Ten banner sponsorships have been sold, and 10 more are available. To advertise your business by sponsoring a banner, contact Schier at 964-9767.

The purchase of this boat dock could not be possible without the many contributions from businesses, individuals, grants, and the fund-raising events of River District. River District Association gratefully acknowledges these individuals and organizations for their contribution to the River District Boat Dock Fund

River District Association fund-raising events: Sponsors and attendees of The LuLuau and Red Ball 2003—$4,952; Dr. Gautam Gupta—$4,500; Rockford Park District Foundation—$3,000; Anonymous—$2,198.50; Community Foundation of Northern Illinois grant—$1,500; Rock River Homeowners Association—$1,250; Randal L. Olson—$1,000; Thomas and Judy Mott—$500; Insight Communications—$250; John E. Jurasek—$200; Kyptonite Music Club—$135; The Rock River Times—$150; C & C Berman—$100; Rick and Angela Jones—$100; John Smith Property Management—$100; Rockford Public Library—$100; Mr. and Mrs. James Knapp—$50; Loyd L. Koch—$50; Kay J. Mullins—$50; Neil R. Pontius—$50; Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Zenk—$50; Phyllis A. Field—$25; Frank Schier—$20; Sally “Sara” Branson—$15.

The following businesses sponsored banners: Kyptonite Music Club—$500; Morrissey Law Firm—$1,400; Octane Interlounge—$500; Swilligan’s Pub—$500; The Rock River Times—$500.

The Jars In Bars campaign raised $213.82; thanks to: Curve Marine, Gaspo’s Auto Inn, The Irish Rose, J.R. Kortman’s, The Latham Tap , Maria’s, Mary’s Tavern, The Rock River Times, Times Lounge, Tom’s Tap and The Water Street Café.

“Special thanks should also go out to the individuals and the staff of their businesses who did so much work on the River District fundraisers and marketing committee,” Schier said. “We all would like to thank Greg and Lulu Watt and Watt Publishing, Frank Turbyville and Contemporary Hammer Works, Jack Holt and The Broadway Agency, Matt Provenzano and Supply Core, Mike Maurchie and Judge and Dolph, Sally Bradley and Bradley Interiors, Sandy Kohn and MedicineMan, Lisa Ekberg and Louis Cooper’s, John Grough and RACVB, Joan Welsh and Estate Exchange; Eileen Morrissey and Morrissey Law Offices, Sarah Provancher and Friends of the Coronado, Lynn Wherley and Saturn Studio; Bill Beard, Lori Getter, Lynn Rode, Brett Nivinski, Kim Wheeler, and my staff at The Rock River Times.”

River District Association would like to recognize and thank its 2004 Sponsor Partners, AMCORE Bank, Associated Bank, Bradley & Bradley Architects, Engineers, LaMonica Beverages, Lorden Distributing Company, Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, and William Charles Investments Inc.

Schier also noted the debris that had been accumulating on and damaging all docks up the river because of the high water and twisted Ronald Reagan’s call at the Berlin Wall, saying, “ComEd, change that dam policy.”

The river has been closed for more than a month due to the high water above the dam; yet below the dam, the river level is well below flood stage. ComEd controls the flowage over the dam, and claims the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Army Corps of Engineers set the guidelines.

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