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Rockford in Bloom 2014

T ab l e



Greetings from Rockford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Community Involvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Planting Pride in our Neighborhoods . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Heritage Conservation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6–7 ARCHITECTURAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 LAURENT HOUSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Welcome to

Rockford, Illinois “City of Gardens”

We are excited to be an entrant in this year’s America in Bloom competition. We take great pride

in our community, and we feel that it shows. Our affinity for our beautiful gardens, excellent park system, and rich heritage is reflected in the num­ber of citizens who have participated in this effort. Over the years, we have assembled large groups of volunteers to keep our city clean and green. We have continued to expand education programs for our citizens, and our neighborhood network is closely tied

to our efforts. Each year, new areas are adopted, cleaned up, and beautified. All of these efforts have contrib­uted to increased community pride and awareness of the importance of our efforts for the health and well-being of our community. Enjoy your stay. We are so pleased that you are here to witness the result of our efforts. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this year’s America in Bloom competition.

Lawrence J. Morrissey

Scott H. Christiansen

Tim Dimke

Mayor, City of Rockford

Chairman, Winnebago County Board

Executive Director, Rockford Park District

The America in Bloom competition is coordinated by the City of Gardens, a program of the Rockford Park District Foundation. City of Gardens 401 South Main St, Rockford, IL 61101 815-987-1689

Connecting the Community through Art . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Floral Displays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8–10




LA PALOMA GARDENS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 NICHOLAS CONSERVATORY & GARDENS . . . 9

TINKER SWISS COTTAGE MUSEUM & GARDENS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9


Recent Enhancements to the Community . . . . . . . . . 11–12 MORGAN STREET BRIDGE . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 LANTOW LOFTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

PRAIRIE STREET BREW HOUSE . . . . . . . . . 11

NICHOLAS CONSERVATORY & GARDENS . . . 12 RECYCLING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Urban Forestry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

CELEBRATE LIFE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

TURF & GROUND CARE . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Planning for the Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14–15


ALPINE HILLS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14–15


TRANSFORM ROCKFORD . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

A Big Bloomin’ Thanks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16


Planting Pride

Community Involvement Rockford loves a challenge, and when the opportunity arose to once again participate in the America in Bloom competition, the community jumped at the chance. This year’s effort has

once again been coordinated by the City of Gardens, a program of the Rockford Park District. The City of Gardens was created in 1999 through a donation to the Rockford Park District Foun­dation from local residents Dan and Ruth Nicholas. The mission of the City of Gardens is to create and promote beautification efforts in our community and to educate residents regarding its importance. In keeping with its mission, coordination of our city’s entry in America in Bloom was a natural fit. Partners include the Rockford Park District, City of Rockford, Winnebago County, the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, Master Gardeners and Council of Rockford Gardeners, the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, and a variety of individuals, businesses, and organizations. For this year’s competition, the community focused on two areas: Floral Displays and Community Involvement. The City of Gardens has under­taken a major long-term program to involve

the entire community in urban forestry efforts and to return Rockford to its much-revered title of “The Forest City.” The city’s enormous urban for­est canopy, devastated by Dutch Elm disease and a 2003 microburst, has not recovered from the loss (see Urban Forestry). In addition, the community undertook new efforts to clean up and green up. Beautification efforts ignited by the city’s entry into the 2005 and 2007 America in Bloom competition continue through ongoing educational offerings and grant opportunities providing neighborhood groups with bedding plants and flower bulbs for beautifying common areas. The City of Gardens Hanging Basket Program, which began in 1999 with 18 baskets, has expanded to nearly 230 this year. In addition, the Planter Program has grown to more than 100 large planters on display by businesses and organi­zations. Many local greenhouses have offered discounts on plants in conjunction with Rockford’s entry into America in Bloom. The Community Foundation of North­ern Illinois awarded $19,780 last year in grants from the Neighborhood Grants Pro­gram to support Rockford’s

America in Bloom competition. There is a remark­able harmony between the guidelines for the America in Bloom project and the objectives of the Neighborhood Grants Program of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois. Both promote the betterment and enjoy­ment of the entire community, and they encourage people to work with their neighbors to build a sense of civic pride. The City of Gardens also participates in Comcast Cares day, a nationwide cleanup and beautification endeavor. In both 2013 and 2014, more than 100 volunteers donated time on a Saturday morning to spread mulch and do landscape and trash cleanup at Washington Park Community Center, a facility that serves a large number of at-risk youth in one of Rockford’s most economically distressed neighborhoods. In 2013, Comcast provided the City of Gardens with nearly $2000 in grant funding, which was used to purchase 5000 flower bulbs. These bulbs were distributed to neighborhood groups and non-profit organizations following an educational session on planting and care.


in our Neighborhoods

The fabric of any community is its neighborhoods, and Rockford is fortu­nate to have extremely strong neighbor­hood organizations. This year, in an effort to strengthen the

neighborhood communities, a group of city officials and community leaders have once again banded to further an association of neighborhood groups called the Neighborhood Net­work. The network’s aim is to identify emerging neighborhood organizations and rejuvenate existing ones through a variety of education and support oppor­tunities.

Promoting neighborhood pride and community involvement has been the focus of the America in Bloom ef­fort, and as a result, an unusually high number of neighborhood clean-ups were held this spring. In April, “Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful” coordinated a community-wide clean-up. Additionally, more than 500 individuals along with several business partners, took part in one of the largest clean-up projects ever through an annual cleanup called Earthbeat. The community received thousands of hours of free community service as a result of that effort. Another focus of the neighborhood efforts is beautification. The Commu­nity Foundation of Northern Illinois Neighborhood Grant Program resulted in a number of beautification projects (see list at right). The CSA Learning Center’s Roots and Wings Youth Garden Project began in 2003 at Northwest Community Center and has expanded to eight neighborhoods. The Roots and Wings program increases the capacity of at-risk youth in the Rockford area to serve as environmental stewards in their neighborhood through hands-on farm- and garden-based education and community service. Youth learn about the environmental and health impacts on the food system, and serve as peer leaders to help design and lead activities. The veg­etables they produce are sold at farmer’s markets.

Grant Listing for Neighborhood Grant Fund Supports neighborhood-based groups and organizations to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods FY13 (July 1, 2012 - June 30, 2013) 1. Churchill’s Grove Neighborhood: built an 8' x 8’ wooden arbor to place

over a picnic table at the Churchill’s Grove Community Garden, along with four large planters for perennial vines. . . . . . . . . . . $349.00 2. City of Gardens: Gator Bags for Drought Affected Trees . .


3. EDEEN City of Rockford’s Commercial Corridor, Economic Dev., Education and Entrepreneurship Network c/o Rock River Dev. Partnership: EDEEN Beautification Network — public parking lot

beautification, East State St from Water St to Third St . . . $2,500.00 4. Ethnic Heritage Museum: The Ethnic Heritage Museum

Landscaping and Beautification Project, Phase II . . . . . . $1,632.00 5. Haight Village National Register Historic District: Please use

our new garbage receptacles to for your trash . . . . . . . . $2,500.00 6. JASSY Neighborhood Watch Group: Flowers for Fun . .


7. J eremiah Development: Party in the Park . . . . . . . . . $2,000.00 8. North End Square Neighborhood Association:

Beautification of Huffman Blvd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $2,239.94 9. Orchid 3rd, Union, College Neighborhood Association, Inc.:

Orchid community get-togethers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $390.00 10. ORCHiD 3UC Neighborhood Association, Inc.: Trash can

collaboration with RHA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3,983.75 11. West Gateway Coalition: West Side Pride . . . . . . . . . $1,800.00 Grand Totals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $19,779.69



Heritage Conservation



Architectural Rockford has more than 150 years of rich history, and the community takes pride in its architectural heritage. The city’s

historic preservation agency is respon­sible for monitoring local historical buildings. There are several historic neighborhoods in Rockford featuring beautiful homes and gardens. A sampling of them includes Coronado Haskell, Garfield Avenue, Indian Ter­race, Churchill’s Grove, Brown’s Hills/ Knightsville, and Haight Village.


Rockford’s oldest neighborhood, Haight Village, also holds events focus­ing on the rich architectural heritage of the area. Beattie Park is home to effigy mounds, created by Native Americans, Rockford’s earliest inhabitants. Downtown Rockford is also home to the Mendelssohn Club (the oldest continu­ous community music organization in the country) and the spectacular Coro­nado Theatre (a 1920s “atmospheric” movie palace theater, renovated in the late 1990s for $18.5 million, re-opened in 2001). Just down the street from the Coronado is the first Memorial Hall in the nation, dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903.


Built by an early Rockford industrialist in 1865, Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum is a rare example of Victorian exotic architecture, featuring parquet floors, ornate woodwork, murals, sculptures, and a spiral staircase, with original furnish­ings and belongings in place. Recent additions include a heritage garden and a replica of the suspended bridge across Kent Creek that Mr. Tinker used to reach his garden. Built in 1871, Rockford’s first brick home is the cultural centerpiece of Rockford’s Swedish community. The 12-room Erlander Home Museum features Victorian decor, Rockford-made furniture, and paintings by Mary Erlander. Funds are being raised for a new Swedish-American Cultural Center across the street from the house mu­seum.


PHOTOS 1–4: 1: Memorial Hall 2: Coronado Theatre 3: Erlander Home Museum 4: Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum


In August 1948, Kenneth Laurent, a World War II veteran who used a wheelchair, wrote to world-famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright requesting that he design a house suitable for unobstructed living by a person who used a wheelchair, and that it be modestly priced by the standards of the time. Wright responded, as he always did when confronted with a unique building problem, “We are interested, but don’t guarantee costs.”

The formal drawings were finished, and a contract for the services of Frank Lloyd Wright was signed in July of 1949. The house, in total, was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, complete with furnishings, lighting, and coloration. It was finished in May of 1952, and its authenticity has since been maintained by Ken and Phyllis Laurent.

Now, the Laurent House Foundation has opened this historic residence to the public. A showcase, the Laurent House met the needs of an individual with disabilties some 40 years before the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. Mr. Laurent notes that the home allowed him to forget about his disability and focus on his capabilities.

Connecting the Community

through Art

Visitors from around the world flock to the international Peace Plaza, which features flags from 40 nations (hon­oring descendants of countries who currently dwell in the Rockford area in significant numbers), Peace Poles, a “Harmony Atlas” sculpture, and quotes by ten prophets of peace.




Sc u lp t u r e

The Rockford Park District, in cooperation with the Rockford Art Museum and the Art in the Parks Committee, is committed to providing high quality public art for the community to enjoy, contemplate, and explore. This tour is intended

to connect people with art along the Rock River Rec Path in Rockford, Illinois. In addition to public art, the unique architectural features and lush serene gardens of Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens have been included.



Floral Displays Great Gardens Rockford is a consortium

Supp o rt e d




of seven different beautiful gardens in Rockford, Illinois. Together, our mission is to promote the beautiful gardens of Rockford in an effort to bring more

Nichola s

visitors to enjoy their splendor!

Anderson Japanese Gardens

Anderson Japanese Gardens 318 Spring Creek Rd, Rockford 815-229-9390 •

Anderson Japanese Gardens offers guests an unforgettable visit to a world-class garden in the heart of the Midwest. The gardens span 12 acres on which you will find winding streams, waterfalls, and traditional architecture set in a 16th century Japanese landscape. Rated one of the highest quality and most authentic Japanese gardens in North America, we welcome you to enjoy nature’s rhythms in a tranquil and healing respite that will touch your soul and awaken your senses. Heritage Gardens at Midway Village Museum 6799 Guilford Rd, Rockford 815-397-9112 •

Visit the picturesque Heritage Gardens at Midway Village Museum depicting 1900 America, and discover plant varieties seldom seen today. Enjoy the

Heritage Gardens

beauty and fragrance of heirloom flowers, unique vegetables, and native plants that tell the story of early life in the prairie state. The gardens are just part of the 148-acre open air museum campus featuring a Victorian-era village showcasing 26 historical buildings filled with artifacts. Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden 2715 S Main St, Rockford 815-965-8146 •

Conser va

Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden

spectacular gardens and rare trees. There’s beauty in every season, from fragrant magnolia trees in spring and a butterfly garden in summer, to the brilliant colors of fall, and snow-capped evergreens in winter. A 1.8 mile, accessible paved path winds through the arboretum, plus many secondary chipped trails. Kids will have fun navigating the maze in the Children’s Garden.

Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden is a 155-acre living museum filled with Labyrinth e Gardens & Womanspac

tory & G a


La Paloma Gardens

La Paloma Gardens 3622 Brookview Rd, Rockford 815-399-0324 •

Award winning La Paloma Gardens is designed to be a combination of unfolding outdoor spaces that coax the visitor to stroll leisurely, and take a moment to sit and pause while anticipating the next vista. The numerous resting spots provide a different garden picture with every turn of the path. La Paloma is totally accessible, with wide paved pathways. Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens a facility of the Rockford Park District 1354 N Second St, Rockford 815-987-8858 •

Situated along the banks of the Rock River and in the heart of the city, Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens is a 22,000 sq. ft. facility featuring a tropical plant exhibition complete with water features and unique sculptures. Adjacent

Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens

to the conservatory is the Eclipse Lagoon and an AARS accredited rose garden with approximately 2,000 rose plants and more than 60 varieties, including the year’s newest award winners. The gardens also feature a 32 ft. diameter floral clock. Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens 411 Kent St, Rockford 815-964-2424 •

Using photographs and Robert Tinker’s journal entries, the Victorian Rose Garden, originally created in 1890, was restored in 1998, and contains 23 varieties of antique roses and plantings historically correct to the 1890 to 1915 period. Other gardens on the property include the Railroad Garden located between the suspension bridge and the railroad tracks (restoration began in 2007), and the Vegetable Garden, which contains heirloom vegetables and others historically appropriate for the period of 1870–1915.

Womanspace Gardens & Labyrinth 3333 Maria Linden Dr, Rockford 815-877-0118 •

Situated on a seven-acre campus with art studios, galleries, Gallery2Go gift shop, four beautiful gardens, a pine forest, prairie, and labyrinth, Womanspace provides a sanctuary from everyday hectic life. From the tranquil fountain in the accessible Celebration Garden, to the ample seating and outdoor sculptures of the Lilly Fernandez Meditation Garden, this visit will delight all ages. Follow the ribbon hoops through the pine forest to the prairie and optional walking meditation on the labyrinth.

Fl o r a l

D i s pl a y s

continued next


on 

10 Fl o r a l

D i s pl a y s

Recent Enhancements to


Rockford has always been known as “The Forest City,” but now, because of its spectacular gardens, Rockford is gaining a reputation as a “City of Gardens.”

Our kaleidoscope of gardens provides colorful destinations, from the formal beauty of Sinnissippi Gardens to the undeniable eastern charm of Anderson Japanese Garden, to the botanical richness of Klehm Arboretum. Ranked the #1 Japanese Garden in North America, Anderson Gardens includes waterfalls, reflecting ponds, and intimate garden paths, augmented by an authentic teahouse and a Sukiya-style guesthouse. Nearby, the exquisite, privately-owned La Paloma garden is opened throughout the season for special events. The garden features unique sculptures, koi ponds, swans, a large waterfall, and a formal French vegetable and herb garden. The Rockford Park District maintains a floral clock and formal

gardens at Sinnissippi Gardens, a floral entry to downtown, floral additions to city golf courses, and assorted pocket parks. Klehm Arboretum features a number of floral displays, including the Nancy Ol­son Children’s Garden, Daylily Garden, Hosta Garden, Pre-historic Garden, and the colorful Fountain Garden. The 155-acre site began in 1910, when landscape architect William Taylor established the land as Rockford Nursery, and planted many rare trees that survive today. The combination of native plants and those from around the world provide a unique botanical resource for study. Floral displays are located at local museums, including Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum’s authentic restoration of a well-docu­mented turn-of-the

century circular rose garden, Midway Village & Mu­seum Center’s formal herb garden, and gardens at the Ethnic Museum, Graham Ginestra Home, Erlander Home Mu­seum, and Burpee Museum of Natural History. Local garden events include numerous free neighborhood walks, Garden Club Walks, a pond walk, and a two-day Garden Fair, which attracts more than 2,000 people. The City of Gardens advisory board and program director will continue to work with government and private partners to ensure that all develop­ment includes appropriate landscaping and green space. The Hanging Basket and Planter programs will continue to grow. City and county ordinances are currently being updated to provide even greater opportunities for beautification.


the Community

old-growth lumber for framing throughout the building, Lantow fits the profile. The old brick walls, 12-foot ceilings, 8-foot-tall windows, and trendy one- and two-bedroom floor plans mark the Lantow Lofts as among the most unique and appealing in the city.




Originally built in 1916 and rebuilt in 1960, the Morgan Street Bridge reconstruction was completed in December 2013. An iconic tied arch structure with a 370' span supports

four traffic lanes in addition to a pedestrian and bike path. The project ultimately allowed for opening up space for additional recreational property near the riverfront adjacent to the bridge, and also creates an enhanced connection between the near southeast and southwest sides of Rockford. Part of this project included acquisition of the rail bridge to the north of the Morgan Street Bridge. Future plans will be to convert this into a rails-to-trails project. This will ultimately be a pedestrian crossing from east to west, which will lead into Rockford’s downtown Davis Park.

Lantow Lofts Lantow Lofts is a complete renovation of the historic Lantow Pharmacy building at 502 Seventh Street, in Rockford, Illinois, featuring seven upscale, urban condos located above a coffee bar/bookstore with a high-tech community meeting area.

When ZION Development bought the three-story, 100-plus-year-old building at 502 Seventh Street in 2000, the storefronts had been vacant for more than a year, and the twelve apartments upstairs were shabby. ZION intentionally seeks buildings that are problematic for the market to renovate but that possess great architectural charm, are structurally sound, and are good candidates for urban renewal — the ultimate recycling opportunity. With a solid limestone foundation and

Green From the Ground Up Lantow Lofts represents MidTown, Rockford’s first market-rate housing development in decades. ZION Development has also designed it as a “green” demonstration site. As the winner of the first annual Winnebago County Green Business award, ZION has utilized both geothermal and solar technology in this project. Residents will appreciate energy savings, and visitors to Katie’s Cup coffeebar will see wall-mounted monitors displaying the real-time impact of the alternative energy sources.

Prairie Street Brew House The Prairie Street Brew House has quite a storied history …

Originally built as the Peacock Brewery in the 1850s, it later became Rockford Brewing Company. Operations continued into prohibition before being shut down sometime in 1918. The Photo: Northwest Quarterly owners quickly transitioned the building to a state of the art cold storage facility, leveraging the refrigeration that was still in place from the brewery. After prohibition, an attempt was made to restart brewing operations under the name Petritz Brewing, but it didn’t last long. In the 1950s, a laundry service went into the building. In the 1980s, the building contained a woodworking shop, an antique store, and several machine shops. The late 1990s brought the construction of the deck and docks, and a full marina. In 2009, events started taking place in the building, and a full renovation of the event space followed in early 2011. Construction on the rest of the building is now underway, bringing 11 condos, two restaurants, and office and retail space to the building. In January 2012, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.




C o n s e r vat o r y



The aging Sinnissippi Gardens were recently refurbished to commemorate the Rockford Park District’s 100th Anniversary in 2009. The new Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens,

a 20,000 sq ft facility, was built to LEED speci­fications with a Gold rating. The new facility features a conservatory with both permanent and changing exhibits, waterfalls, a stream, and a children’s educational area. The build­ing incorporates recycled “green” materials, including carpet, wood, and tile. Energy sources are provided by water collection, solar panels, and geo-thermal heating. The gardens are formal in nature, with water features and fountains, along with a 4,300 sq ft green rooftop garden. The facility has had more than 100,0000 visitors since opening in late October 2011.

RE C Y C L IN G The City of Rockford reclamation system includes a municipal recycling program with weekly residential pick-up through Rock River Disposal. This includes pick-up

of any large, discarded household items. Each household is provided with a recycling bin, with thousands of new bins to be distributed in 2014. Tens of thousands of tons of household recyclables were collected in 2013. The City of Rockford does not allow open burning, and yard waste is picked up in spring, summer, and fall months. Residents can also recycle used oil and tires, aerosols, corrosives, oxidizers,

solvents, oil-based and latex paints, waste oils, pesticides, batteries, and fluorescent lamps by taking them to a drop-off site. A local composting facility, operated by Rock River Composting, accepts yard waste from haulers and non-residents. Many local businesses contribute to the recycling effort. Local grocery stores recycle plastic bags, and dry cleaners recycle plastic clothes covers. Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful (KNIB) is an integral part of community cleanup and pride.

Its key mission is to educate the community on the issues of recycling and reuse. To that end, KNIB has

carried its message to thousands of elementary school children over the years. Since 1999, their clothing drives have sent more than one million pounds of useable clothing to needy families in the U.S. and to third world nations. On average, KNIB collects more than 50 tons of litter and debris from county streets, and through its initiatives, protects 3.6 billion gallons of drinking water. Other recycling programs include an annual Christmas Tree Recycling Program, averaging 30,000 trees per year, and hazardous household chemical collections.

Urban Forestry The City of Gardens has been working with the community for many years to “Reforest Rockford” and return the city to the days when it was celebrated as The Forest City. The city’s canopy was first affected by

Dutch Elm disease, which was disastrous to the Rockford area. Then, in the summer of 2003, a microburst destroyed 3,000 trees. More than 3,000 trees were given away at spring tree give­aways this year. The City of Gardens partnered with a variety of organiza­tions to “Reforest Rockford” by providing trees to neighborhood groups and to the general public. In years to come, these newly planted trees will provide oxygen for more than 12,000 people. Over the years, many organizations have partnered with the City of Gardens in this effort, including the Community Foundation of North­ern Illinois, the Smith Charitable Foun­dation, First Northern Credit Union, ComEd, Stonewoods Corp, and Alpine Bank. The Rock River Times newspaper and Living Waters Trust have provided trees to the community over the last few years. The City of Gardens also manages a Commemorative Tree Program, the Winnebago County Forest Preserve manages its own nursery, and the Winnebago County Soil and Water Con­servation District holds an annual tree sale open to all. The City of Rockford recently completed its tree inventory, and the Rockford Park District is scheduled to complete its GPS inventory in coordination with Stratapoint in 2014. The City of Rockford formed an Emerald Ash Borer Task Force to plan and collaborate with regional partners on effective measures for controlling the Ash Borer. The Rockford Park District has also implemented an ash tree reduction and treatment plan for significant golf course, landscape, and park ash trees.

C e l e b r at e


Life is full of occasions to celebrate — weddings, births, anniversaries, the lives of loved ones lost. The Rockford Park

District Foundation’s Celebrate Life program offers people the opportunity for recognition of those moments with the gift of a tree or bench for placement in our community’s parks or golf courses. A plaque inscribed with the wording of the donor’s choice accompanies

each gift. In addition, a portion of each donation is set aside permanently to provide even more trees, benches, and other amenities for our parks in the future. Over the past four years, 51 trees have been added to beautify park open spaces and landscapes.

Turf and Ground Care Rockford Park District, City of Rockford, and Winnebago County Forest Preserve employees are licensed by the state of Illinois for pesticide applications, and all employees practice integrated pest management. In addition, the Winnebago County Highway Dept. has adopted an environmentally friendly Roadside Management Program.

A Sports Illustrated 50th Anniversary Sportstown, Rockford is home to a number of sports fields (including two major facilities totaling 270 acres), and tournaments during the summer months attract thousands of youth par­ticipants. The Park District maintains its fields so that they are safe, playable, and aesthetically pleasing. Sports fields are regularly rotated to maintain turf integrity. Maintenance of neighborhood parks located throughout the city is also the responsibility of the Park District. The 4,929-acre Rockford Park District is a proud recipient of the Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Parks and Rec­reation presented by The Sports Foun­dation. The District also maintains its five unique and challenging public golf courses. In a recent survey, Park District residents indicated that park space and recreation opportunities are essential for the quality of life in our community (94%). In addition, survey participants also support Rockford Park District continuing to invest resources to keep parks and recreation facilities well maintained (94%).



Planning for the Future R e cl a i m i n g F i r s t Sp o r t s C o mpl e x


• Facility will include eight indoor hard-court basketball courts convertible to 16 volleyball courts or wrestling mats, 42 pickleball courts, and areas for other indoor hard-court sports. • Total complex parking availability at 520 spaces; 500 additional spaces located within ¼ mile of the complex. • Facility will contain 105,000 sq ft, including a central entry/office and concessions section with a second story mezzanine level to provide additional concessions and programming space. It will also include a southern addition that will be utilized as the “Court of Champions” for tournament finals and other special programs/events. • Interior areas convertible for use of flat space for trade shows and conferences. • New exterior panels, riverfront boardwalk, and bus, truck, and pedestrian access. Design will provide windows and access to the river (west side). Additional windows on the north and east sides to provide exterior connectivity and day-lighting. • Additional flex spaces that will provide use for meetings and events, and programming opportunities for the community and the Park District. Economic Impact

• The facility will create approximately 200 construction jobs during development, then generate another 225 permanent (full-time equivalent/ FTE) jobs upon opening (combined with Sportscore Two development). • Combined with Sportscore Two improvements, the projects will generate $1.9 million annually in new tax revenue, and $16 million annually in new private sector economic activity.

H i ll s

Alpine Hills Adventure Park and Youth Golf Academy is a 52-acre, year round, affordable family fun park.

It is located at the southwest corner of East State St and Alpine Rd in Rockford, IL. Activities planned for the park include snow operations like tubing, tobogganing, and snowboarding, experiential learning activities like a zip-lining tree canopy tour, and a five-hole youth/beginner golf instructional course and practice range. Additional outdoor activities are planned as development advances, such as biking and hiking. The Rockford Park District places a high priority on universal design and sustainability. The park will have vast user appeal to all ages, skill levels, and those with special needs.


Project Design



Extensive collaboration among local and state government, along with the Rockford Park District and numerous other business, organizations, and individuals, is setting the stage for the renovation of this former factory into a state-of-the-art athletic sports complex scheduled to open in 2016.

Alp i n e




A former industrial facility situated along the banks of the Rock River in downtown Rockford is the focus of an adaptive reuse endeavor.















Urban Wilderness Trail


Shared Use Path

Electrical Tower


Golf Netting

Bench Area

Zip Line


Seasonal Surface Lift


Irrigation and Snow-making Pond


Future Urban Wilderness Trail Area


Pump House


Tee Boxes (12 Tees)


Existing Maintenance Building




Future Path


Main Entrance


Future West Entry


Future Parking


Practice Green – First Tee Training Area


Donor Recognition Area


Club House


Seating Area


Existing Shared Use Path


Downhill “Fun Zone” (Zip Line, Off-Road Bikes, Rock Climbing)

Alpine Hills


S tat e



The West State St Corridor project grew out of a recognized need for significant infrastructure upgrades within the corridor. The City, corridor stakeholders, and the Illinois

Department of Transportation (IDOT) began to work together in 2001 to assemble a West State Street Corridor Framework Plan. The plan, which serves as the template for the project being designed today, was issued in September 2002.



The Transform Rockford mission is to facilitate the creation and implementation of a strategic plan by the community for the purposes of dramatically improving the social and economic well-being of the community and its residents.

The initiative is about true transformation, not just incremental improvement, in which everyone’s thoughts and voices will contribute to its success. This inclusive approach is based on the belief that better ideas and plans come to the forefront when those affected the most have input throughout the process of making the plans. By applying strategic planning processes used successfully in businesses, our community will develop our vision for the future together, as well as strategies and detailed plans to achieve that vision. Every individual, through a public process, will be asked to provide insight, input, and commitment to this transformational endeavor. Then, using the vision as a guide, an aggressive implementation plan will bring our collective vision to reality.

IDOT, as the lead agency, began the project design in 2004; Phase I design is complete. IDOT is underway with Phase II design, with a scheduled completion date of late 2010. The project involves the reconstruction of West State St from Kent Creek to Pierpont Ave into a five-lane cross-section that includes a landscaped barrier median. The improvement will generally follow the existing alignment. The project includes construction of curb and gutter, new driving surface, sidewalks, multi-use path, and landscaping. The project will also include improvements at intersections. Traffic signals will also be upgraded, along with the current roadway lighting. The primary purpose of the West State St Corridor Project is to provide an improved transportation facility along U.S. BR 20 (West State St) from Kent Creek to Pierpont Ave. West State Street — Linear Parks

As outlined in the 2001 “West State St Corridor Plan,” the City will develop linear parks on the north and south sides of West State St from the Kent Creek to Independence Ave. This will coincide with the state’s road reconstruction project. As part of the road project, the City is removing the vast majority of structures on the north and south sides of West State St within this section. This open space gives the City the opportunity to create new public spaces to improve the quality of life along the corridor.

West State St Corridor Project

The new public spaces will include linear parks, a multi-use path, drainage, lighting, and planted medians. A landscape master plan is required for the corridor project, which will be implemented in a multi-phase effort. The first phase of the project will coincide with IDOT’s construction on West State St between Kent Creek and Independence Ave. The design consultant selected for the project, Terry Guen Design Associates (TGDA), is both an MBE and WBE. TGDA also provided design services for Millennium Park in Chicago, as well as other significant projects with the Chicago Park District. The project is being developed in conjunction with the Rockford Park District and the Complete Streets Task Force.

A Big Bloomin’ Thanks R o ck f o rd i n B l o o m — A m e r i ca i n B l o o m 2 0 1 4 C o m p e t i t i o n

The Rockford Park District Foundation and the City of Gardens would like to express their appreciation to the America in Bloom program for this tremendous opportunity. This program has again provided an impetus to the city that will carry on for years to come. The City of Gardens would like to thank the hundreds and thousands of people who have participated in this effort. Special acknowledgements include the following: On behalf of the City of Gardens Advisory Committee, we would like to thank Rockford and its citizens for allowing us to coordinate this wonderful effort once again. Together we have made a truly meaningful difference.

— Kelly Moore, City of Gardens Program Director; Clayton Guler, Rockford in Bloom 2014 Coordinator Advisory Committee

All Hanging Basket Sponsors All Neighborhood Grant Recipients All City of Gardens Grant Recipients

Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden La Paloma Gardens, Karen Harding Midtown District

All Planter Sponsors

Midway Village Museum

All Rockford Nurseries and Garden Centers

Nelson’s Flowers and Greenhouse

All Rockford Garden Clubs All Rockford Media

Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens Dan & Ruth Nicholas

Anderson Japanese Gardens

Participating Businesses & Places of Worship

Arte Verde

River District Association

City of Rockford

Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Sally Baker

Martha Mitchell

Judy Barnard

Kelly Moore

Jan Branstiter

Mary Pinter

Chad Bryden

Judy Pollack

Jenny Gailey

Char Powell

Community Foundation of Northern Illinois

Peg Goral

Sally Pulford

County of Winnebago

Rockford Register Star

Clayton Guler

Andrew Quintanilla

East State Gateway Association

School Participants and Students

Sue Huntting

Mary Spindler


Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum

Nancy Lundstrom

Christie Telfair

Gensler Gardens

University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners

Mary Ann Miller

Comcast — Comcast Cares Day

Great Gardens Rockford

Special thanks to

Dan Erwin

Sara Saunders

Tim Hanson

Lis Thompson

Ruth Miller

The City of Gardens is a Program of the Rockford Park District Foundation.

J.J. Paris Landscaping KNIB — Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful

Rockford Park District Rockford Park District Foundation

Village Green Home and Garden Womanspace Labyrinth and Gardens

Rockford in Bloom 2014  
Rockford in Bloom 2014  

The America in Bloom competition is coordinated by the City of Gardens, a program of the Rockford Park District Foundation.