Sinnissippi riverfront restoration project receives two awards

Staff Report

Sinnissippi Park Riverfront is the oldest and one of the most heavily-utilized parks in the Rockford Park District. On average, nearly 143,000 people visit the riverfront and gardens along the Rock River. The area is an easily accessible cultural venue, which over the last few years has transformed by the merging of some familiar favorites with new highlights, all for the enjoyment of citizens and visitors now, and for many generations to come.

One area that was renovated is the Eclipse Lagoon. Because of the project’s unique design elements and landscape features, the Eclipse Lagoon, within the Sinnissippi Riverfront, is being recognized at two different award receptions.

Rockford Park District Deputy Director of Capital Planning & Management Laura Pigatti Williamson explained: “These two awards would not be possible without the help of Sanders Design Group and Arc Design Resources, Inc., and William Charles, Ltd. By collaborating together, we were able to develop lush gardens, create tranquil reflection places, renovate Eclipse Lagoon and Tea House, and plant natural and informal landscape plantings that are best suited for areas near Eclipse Lagoon.”

The Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA) will present the Rockford Park District and Sanders Design Group, 333 E. State St., Rockford, the Excellence in Landscape Silver Award in the Commercial Construction category for the Eclipse Lagoon Restoration Project at Sinnissippi Riverfront. The team will receive the award Feb. 6 at the Illinois Landscape Trade Show in Schaumburg, Ill.

American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois (ACEC-IL) will present the Rockford Park District and Arc Design Resources, Inc., 5291 Zenith Pkwy., Loves Park, Ill., a 2014 Engineering Excellence Award — Special Achievement for the Eclipse Lagoon Restoration Project. The Engineering Excellence Awards Competition recognizes projects of engineering achievement by Illinois consulting engineering firms. Special Achievement Awards are given for those projects worthy of special recognition of the engineer and the owner/client for achieving engineering excellence.

Completed in the spring of 2013, the Eclipse Lagoon Restoration Project began as part of the district’s 100th anniversary riverfront restoration program, which included repairing and improving the lagoon and surrounding grounds.

Eclipse Lagoon Restoration Project included water features, including two fountains and one waterfall; Tea House pergola, a replica of the former structure; new north patio with special engraved bricks; pond; paths, benches, and new seat wall; and landscape plantings, including natural plantings along the east bank slope.

The restoration of Eclipse Lagoon was made possible thanks to many donations to the Rockford Park District Foundation. William Charles, Ltd., 1401 N. Second St., Rockford, provided a sizable in-kind donation, along with a major donation package from the Eclipse Foundation and the Baits family. In September 2011, the Rockford Park District Foundation received a generous donation from the Eclipse Foundation, thanks to the Perks family, owners of Eclipse Inc., and an anonymous donor. The Eclipse Foundation’s donation package includes permanent naming rights and refurbishment of the lagoon by the donors and their designated construction company, William Charles, Ltd. Combined, the donations allowed for a successful completion of the $1,429,500 Eclipse Lagoon Restoration Project.

From the Feb. 12-18, 2014, issue

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