ROCKFORD — Fighting a $1 million budget deficit for 2018, the Rockford Park District said Tuesday it needs a new master plan to right its financial woes.
RPD says declining revenues wrought by lowered fees and a shrinking tax base have left it with few options to trim operational expenses. The district has made more than $8.4 million in budget cuts since 2009, but says, “it is becoming extremely difficult to provide the same level of service without an increase in new revenue or a decrease in the Park District’s footprint.”
At Monday’s meeting, RPD’s Board of Commissioners and Executive Director Jay Sandine discussed options to put the district on stronger financial footing and are planning to move forward with a new community involved master plan.
“This is a critical step for the Park District that will ensure that we are meeting community needs and aligning recreational trends,” said Board of Commissioners President Ian Linnabary. “We want the community to help guide our future and determine which recreational assets are most important.”
The master plan would work in concert with the district’s annual strategic plan and would help identify investments in current assets as well as provide recommendations regarding obsolete and under-used facilities.
“Our community should be dictating what the Park District looks like going forward so we are excited to engage our community and discuss the district’s future,” Sandine said. “It is also very important that the district’s master plan and vision aligns with the vision of other community leaders and organizations and become even more interconnected.”
Community input sessions and community volunteers will be part of the process to complete the master plan, RPD said Tuesday. The final master plan is expected to be completed by summer 2018.
RPD maintains nearly 5,000 acres of land and 179 parks and facilities across the Stateline area. For more information visit rockfordparkdistrict.org. R.