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Rockford Park District closes pools, cancels summer concerts for 2020

Staff Report

ROCKFORD – Because of coronavirus limitations, the Rockford Park District has decided to close Alpine Pool, Harkins Aquatic Center, and Sand Park Pool will be closed for the season, and the the 2020 “Sounds of Summer” concert series will be canceled.

District officials say since the start of pandemic, the Rockford Park District has followed and supported guidelines and requirements established by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), State of Illinois, and Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) and will continue to do so in order to help eliminate this virus from the community.

The park district district has been working with local health leaders to determine if it’s safe to bring back certain park amenities, reopen facilities, or hold summer events coronavirus is affecting communities in different ways.

“However, keeping public pools closed this summer is a trend that is happening all across Illinois with a variety of park districts making similar announcements,” Executive Director Jay Sandine said in a release. “With limitations on pool capacity, social distance requirements, and a lot of unknowns about the spread of COVID-19 in an aquatic setting, it is impossible to safely operate our pools.  We know this is going to be devastating for area families who love to spend quality time together at one of the district’s pools. This will be especially hard on area youth who look forward to this summertime staple and a chance to learn how to swim which is a critical lifelong skill.”

Sandine said because large events will not be permitted in Illinois until Phase 5 of the governor’s Restore Illinois plan, Sounds of Summer cannot be held. The series includes Music in the Park at Sinnissippi Music Shell, Live at Levings and Domingos en el Parque which normally takes place at Levings Lake Park, along with Tunes on the Terrace at Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens.

“It’s extremely hard for us to not be able to offer the chance for our community to enjoy and support a variety of local and regional artists,” he said. “Music is therapeutic and brings our community together in unity to share a common interest but we have no choice as we have to trust and follow the rules established by state and national experts.”

Recreational amenities return
As our community moves into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois and Rockford Region Rebounding plan, pending all public health metrics we will begin to restore the following park amenities on May 30.

  • Basketball rims
  • Soccer nets
  • Futsal nets
  • Tennis nets
  • Pickleball nets
  • Disc golf cages

The Rockford Park District Police will continue to monitor parks and ask residents to call the non-emergency line at 815-966-2900 to report large gatherings.

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