Winnebago County News Briefs

Chronicle Media


Park District proposes cuts to trim deficit

The Rockford Park District has proposed a series of steps to close a $1 million deficit with plans to formally approve service cuts, fee increases and other adjustments in January.

“With declining revenue both through fees and a declining tax base, along with population and demographic shifts, it is becoming extremely difficult to provide the same level of service without an increase in new revenue or a decrease in our footprint,” said Rockford Park District

“With a $1 million deficit this year, and $8.4 million in past budget reductions, we are at the point where unfortunately, we can’t continue to sustain all aspects of District operations, and have no choice but to make tough yet strategic decisions regarding recreational opportunities.”

To close the gap, the district has proposed:

  • Not operating Forest City Queen and Trolley Car 36 (summer operations)
  • Closing Sand Park Pool
  • Closing Harkins Aquatic Center two weeks earlier
  • Reduction of one week of the free Music in the Park Summer Concert Series (8 weeks vs. 9 weeks)
  • Elimination of indoor swimming lessons
  • Elimination of one youth day camp called Summer Blast
  • Expanding hours of operation at Washington Park Community Center to invest in area youth
  • Increased support for Rockford Park District Police

The district also proposed adding video gaming at select locations as well as select price increases.

Plans also call for eliminating four full-time position by attrition and restrictring, end event support for community parter activities and end support for community centers for ground maintenance and reduce contractural mowing.

Formal approval of the 2018 budget will take place at the January 16, 2018 board meeting.


RU senior named Lincoln Laureate

Rockford University senior Malcolm Engelbrecht (Loves Park, Ill.) has been named as a 2017 Lincoln Laureate by The Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

Each year, the annual Lincoln Academy Student Laureate Ceremony recognizes excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities by seniors from each of the state’s four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities, and one student from the community colleges in Illinois. This year’s ceremony took place on Nov. 11, in Springfield. President Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D., accompanied Engelbrecht for the ceremony.

The Lincoln Academy has been granting the award for 43 years. Governor Bruce Rauner, the President of the Lincoln Academy, and First Lady Diana Rauner presented each student with a certificate of merit, a Lincoln medallion and a $1,000 check from the Lincoln Academy.

Engelbrecht attended Belvidere High School and will graduate from Rockford University in 2018 with a major in Organismal Biology and a minor in Chemistry. After completing his degree, he plans to attend medical school at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences where he will be trained to be a leader in the U.S Navy’s health services.

He currently serves as the president of the pre-health and science club, helping to connect his fellow students with community service opportunities through-out the Rockford region.

Engelbrecht has also served his community as an Emergency Medical Technician for the past three years. He is a recipient of the American Chemical Society Organic Chemistry Award for showing exceptional understanding of fundamental Organic mechanisms; a Dean’s and Distinguished scholar, and has been named a Rock-Solid Regent in October of 2016 as recognition for his positive accomplishments at Rockford University.


School names sought for new RPS facilities

The community is invited to two meetings later this month to help name elementary schools under construction in Rockford Public Schools.

The district’s naming committee met recently and includes Rockford School Board members, principals, administrators and community members.

The committee will host meetings, listen to community feedback and make a recommendation to Superintendent Ehren Jarrett. The School Board could vote on the names as early as December or January. Tentative timeline:

  • Community meeting: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, at Flinn Middle School 
  • Community meeting: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at the Administration Building in the third floor board room, 501 7th St. 
  • Discussion will continue at the Operations Committee meeting Dec. 5. 
  • A recommendation could be made to the School Board in December, with a vote in December or January. 


–Winnebago County News Briefs–