Back in October, the Rockford Park District announced plans to close the Ice House, citing the high costs of upkeep, but wide-spread community support for the facility tabled the park district’s decision. “As we know, it was in danger of closing and it needs funds to be renovated,” Democratic Senator Steve Stadelman said at a news conference with Governor JB Pritzker on Wednesday afternoon.
“The community will always take the park district further than we can, just as staff within our available resources,” Jay Sandine, the Executive Director of the Rockford Park District, says. “The total project to renovate Riverview is around $6 million,” Sandine says.
The money will go towards two sheets of ice, a new refrigeration system, and locker room renovations, but that’s are just some of the work that’s needed at the Ice House. But the $2.5 million from the state still leaves a $3.5 million gap for the park district to come up with.
Stadelman says that’s “to make sure that kids from across the community are able to continue their ice activities.” But when Illinois’ new budget passed in Springfield, the park district got some of the money it needed to save the facility, $2.5 million worth.
But Sandine says the park district is committed to finding the money. “Probably something that we’re going to either have to bond, or as we continue to free up our footprint, sell assets maybe we can take some of that money to go towards those costs,” Sandine explains, saying there are a few options to come up with the money needed.
“This is just another beautiful example of the community stepping in and supporting their park district and now we’re able to renovate the Riverview Ice House, keep both of our ice facilities, and get ready for another few generations of skating communities there,” Sandine says with a smile. Sandine credits Stadelman and the Rockford community for saving the Ice House. As far as a timeline, he says the plan is to start renovations in the spring of 2022 and reopen by fall of 2022.
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