Park District board approves short-term lease of Windsor Lake in Loves Park
Online Staff Report
Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners approved a short-term lease June 12 with Ed Carlson Sr. and family to operate Windsor Lake in Loves Park. The short-term lease is through Dec. 31.
Windsor Lake is off North Alpine Road and Windsor Road in Loves Park, and is adjacent to the Windsor Athletic Club.
The board also approved entering into a short-term sublease with Paddle and Trail of Loves Park, 7212 N. Alpine Road, Loves Park, to operate water programs and activities at Windsor Lake.
Paddle and Trail would partner with the Rockford Park District to run a Regional Activity Center (RAC) at Windsor Lake. The RAC would offer water programs such as kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding.
The lake would also be open to the public for regulated fishing opportunities, leagues and derbies, along with hiking, exploration and winter activities. Boating on Windsor Lake would only be available through rental options at Paddle and Trail.
Under the short-term lease, the Rockford Park District would incur minimal expense toward the project. All operational costs will be the responsibility of Paddle and Trail.
Paddle and Trail Owner Walter Loos explained, “The mission of the Regional Activity Center (RAC) is to open the world of adventure and outdoor activity to all through a full range of outdoor education, experiences and adventures to individuals of all abilities.”
The Carlsons expressed an interest in working with the Rockford Park District to open the lake to the general public, and proposed a concept that would include a short-term lease to the Rockford Park District in preparation for a permanent donation in 2013. During that time, the Rockford Park District would enter into a sub-lease/partnership with Paddle and Trail (owner preferred and located along the lake property) to offer open water programs and activities.
Rockford Park District Deputy Director of Operations Jay Sandine said: “We are excited about this collaboration between the Carlson family, Paddle and Trail, the City of Loves Park, and Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The RAC is a pilot program, and we’re looking to see how the community responds. We held a neighborhood meeting in May, and received positive feedback from residents. From that meeting, we developed ‘Lake Watch,’ a citizen advisory committee to assist with clean-up projects, special events and policing of the Windsor Lake area.”
An in-depth environmental assessment was conducted by the Rock Island District Corps of Engineers and the City of Loves Park, and found no significant impact on the environment. The study included detailed testing of water, air quality and impact on fish and wildlife.
The 12-acre Windsor Lake property has been under private family ownership for decades. It is the largest of three bodies of water located near Windsor and Alpine roads in Loves Park.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the RAC is set for 11 a.m., Friday, June 22, at Windsor Lake. The short-term lease with Ed Carlson Sr. and family to operate Windsor Lake will be brought back to the board at the end of the year to review the 2012 activities.
Posted June 14, 2012
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