By Doug Halberstadt
Perhaps, like me, you’ve driven down North Second Street recently and glanced over at the Eclipse Lagoon (formerly known as the Sinnissippi Lagoon). One thing is drastically different — other than the name — this winter. There are people down there. For the first time in a few years, the Rockford Park District (RPD) has opened the frozen pond to the public for free ice skating and hockey. I, for one, think this is excellent.
Not because I’m an ice skater or a hockey player. Neither is anyone in my immediate family. I have no selfish reasons to feel this way at all. This is much bigger. It is for the greater good of our community.
Almost everyone I know from around this area and in my age bracket (40 to 60) has fond memories of spending time as a kid skating or playing down there in winters gone by. Back then, all we needed for some inexpensive fun was a pair of skates, a warm coat, hat and gloves, and we were in business.
Now, thanks to the RPD, new generations of grandparents and parents can share that same experience with their loved ones. Park District staff members monitor ice conditions very carefully and make daily decisions about the safety of the ice and availability of skating on the lagoon. Updated ice conditions and hours of operation are posted on the Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens Facebook page.
I truly believe this is one of the many great things our city has to offer its residents.
Rockford is suffering from an image problem. We’ve all heard about the recent ratings we’ve received from a couple of national magazines. I say those writers know little or nothing of which they speak. I’d like to personally invite them to come to town, bring a pair of skates, and hit the lagoon.
I’m betting if they’d take me up on that invitation, their perspective might be slightly different the next time they sat down to write something about our city.
From the March 6-12, 2013, issue