Rockford Park District

Rockford Park District

A Rockford-area drive to keep an iconic local attraction open this summer has reached its goal.

Faced with the news that the Rockford Park District was sidelining one of her favorite hometown attractions due to budget constraints, Rockford musical icon Jodi Beach decided to take action.

“Our first thought was, this can’t really be happening," Beach said.  "So we approached some people with the Park District and said, 'How can we help?' Of course the Park District loves the trolley; this isn't an us against them. We’re all on the same team.”

WNIJ/Victor Yehling

Rockford’s Sinnissippi Park is attracting teams of snow sculptors from across Illinois starting Wednesday. 

They're taking part in the 32nd Annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition. The Rockford Park District used snowmaking machines to ensure an adequate supply for competitors. They will have until Saturday to build the best sculpture they can out of a 6- by 6- by 10-foot block of snow.  Rockford Park District Spokeswoman Laura Gibbs-Green said teams’ tools are limited.

The Rockford Park District voted to ban smoking on most of its properties. 

State law already bans smoking within 50 feet of public buildings, but the Rockford Register Star reports violations on park property would impose a $125 fine for first time offenders.  That amount doubles to $250 for a consecutive offense, and $500 for a third offense. 

WNIJ/Victor Yehling

The annual Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition in Rockford has been postponed. That’s despite Rockford Park District efforts to bring in snow machines for the competition.

About 20 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for this type of event so sculptures can hold their shape and snow can stick around. However, the competition is expected to take place in Rockford’s Sinnissippi Park with temperatures as high as 45.

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

It has been years in the making, and Wednesday, June 1, 2016, it became official. The UW Health Sports Factory is open in downtown Rockford.

The massive recreational facility on the Rock River is expected to serve the needs of sports-minded residents as well as attract amateur sports tourism. The Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau held its annual luncheon at the Sports Factory, the building's inaugural event. About 700 people gathered in the $24-million facility for the official dedication.

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