ROCKFORD (WREX) — Rockford Park District officials held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to lay out the next steps for Sinnissippi Golf Course.
On Tuesday, Oct. 8, the golf course was still on the chopping block to reduce the $1.2 million deficit in the Park District’s budget. But 13 News reported yesterday the park district would hold off on any decision surrounding the golf course for one year.
At Wednesday’s press conference, about 50 residents showed up to celebrate the reprieve the park district gave the course, but advocates also wanted to hear what the plan is moving forward.
Two residents said they were happy about the park district’s decision on Sinnissippi.
“This is where I learned how to play golf some 35 years ago, so it’s pretty special to me,” Sam Schmitz said.
Advocate Jim McDowell agreed.
“This means we have an opportunity to make the public aware of what needs to be done to keep all the parks, not just this golf course, viable,” McDowell said.
Public outcry was the reason the park district gave for its decision to hold off on a final judgement, but only guaranteed the course would stay open for another year. After that, the district still has to find a way to support the course, which is expected to lose almost $120,000.00 by the end of this year.
“We are open to all ideas,” Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners President Ian Linnabary said.
Some of those ideas to generate more money for the course include sponsorships, donations and increasing the overall number of rounds of golf played. Linnabary also mentioned another idea for adding to the course.
“Potentially, disc golf could co-exist with golf so, we could generate money from additional rounds from disc golfers,” Linnabary explained.
Another idea focused on getting younger players trained and involved in the game. Eli Parker, a 15-year old, who plays golf at Rockford East High School, told us both he and his school’s team use Sinnissippi for practice rounds.
“I know there’s other courses, but I live close to this one, and this has always been my go-to course whenever I want to get a quick round in,” Parker said.
Now, he and other golfers won’t have to worry about finding a new course to get their rounds in, at least not until after 2020.
We would like to note, the park district also proposed eliminating Alpine Hills and the Alpine Pool. Those still face closure to fill the funding gap.