Park District releases annual participation report
The Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners received an annual report on participation at the District’s parks, programs, facilities, partners, and museums during 2011.
According to Executive Director Tim Dimke: “During the past year, the District focused on serving citizens on a neighborhood level through additional partnerships and cooperative efforts with many agencies, including Rockford Housing Authority, Rockford School District 205, community centers and churches, Boys & Girls Clubs, museums, and the YMCA. We were able to significantly leverage resources — both financial and human — to deliver services where they are needed most. At the same time, we contracted out some services we have traditionally provided, with great results for our customers.”
The Commissioners gave highest priority for services to teens and at-risk youth, programs and services during summer and non-school times, introductory level instruction in lifelong recreation skills, providing a safe and secure environment at parks, events and facilities, and activities that are accessible for all in a geographically balanced manner.
Highlights of achievements included:
• The Summer Challenge program cooperative with Rockford School District 205 was expanded. The Park District administered the summer school program for five elementary, and one middle school in conjunction with the School District. The program served 2,300 youth in grades K-8. Summer Challenge offered youth a free summer program that provided tutoring in math and reading, and incorporated several community partners to offer enrichment activities. The YMCA of Rock River Valley, Rockford Area Arts Council, Discovery Center Museum, and Burpee Museum offered students hands-on activities that supported learning through the arts, science, and history.
• The DiVine DiVa’s and Don’s organized events for the neighbors and community in Andrews Park. A total of 1,155 people participated in the “Saturdays in the Park” events.
The Park District and Rockford Housing Authority continued outreach to youth and families, and recruited youth to enroll in the summer playground program that was newly offered at Fair Grounds Park.
• Lockwood Park continued to expand on the low-cost, family-friendly events to the community. Lockwood expanded the concept of its annual October Pumpkin Patch Fest by adding three additional days of festivities, promoted as “Loctoberfest.” The October festivities in the park brought in an additional 20,000 people and $47,000 in revenue.
• Aldeen Golf Club implemented a new system of “demand-based pricing” as part of its partnership with golfnow.com. This third party support of tee time bookings uses the Internet. This change resulted in added customer convenience, and more than 900 rounds booked via the Internet, with $43,000 in revenue generated through this new cost-effective partnership.
• Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens provided accessibility with a free period offered monthly, along with a variety of special promotions. Free admissions during the reporting period equaled 1,753 visitors.
• The Forest City Queen was utilized as a water taxi with a test pilot of the concept held on Labor Day weekend. The taxi ran during the On the Waterfront festival, transporting guests between Martin Park and Beattie Park. The taxi service was utilized by 388 patrons who enjoyed the relaxing 30-minute trip down the river to the Waterfront as an alternative to crowded downtown parking.
• Conservation and fishing programs continued to be well attended, along with youth sports, and youth hockey growing in popularity with boys and girls.
• Therapeutic Recreation had 94 adapted sports athletes, a 33 percent increase.
• Operation Recreation debuted for military families, with special events, discounts and programs.
• The Sinnissippi Ambassador Club began with 31 community members participating in getting better acquainted with RPD facilities and services.
The report also highlighted safety and security measures. In 2011, there was a decrease over 2010 in misdemeanor and felony arrests in parks and facilities. According to Police Chief Theo Glover, “The decrease can be attributed to increased patrols in parks and facilities, specifically those identified as ‘hot spots.’ Hot spots are defined as areas that have the greatest potential for criminal activity. Because crime is not evenly distributed throughout all parks and facilities, it stands to reason that some areas need more resources than others. The word is out in the community that the parks, as well as our facilities, are not safe havens for criminal activities.”
Performance statistical data was provided for Park District programs, facilities, parks, recreation paths, and recreation partners, including youth baseball programs, museums, BMX, Ski Broncs, special event, and many other partners in the community. All totaled, an impact of more than 9.5 million user visits occurred at Park District parks, programs, and facilities during 2011. The entire report is available on the District’s website, www.rockfordparkdistrict.org/reports.
For more information, contact Tim Dimke, executive director, (815) 987-8800, or e-mail email@example.com.
From the April 4-10, 2012, issue
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