Rockford ball field kicks off with May 11 celebration

The Rockford City Council was the recipient of some exciting news at its March 12 meeting when Steve Yakesh delivered a Jim Thome Park Update.

The park is located in the Parkwood housing development on the west side of Rockford, property the city acquired in negotiations with the developer in lieu of a park dedication fee. Parkwood residents involved in the parks preliminary planning were approached by Yakesh of the Rockford Area Athletic Association (RAAA) who suggested they consider using some of the space to accommodate a ball field. Yakesh explained how fund raising, grants and volunteer hours could be obtained to fund the field. The proposal was met with approval, and the process begun. The effort received grant money from the Youth Sports Grant, part of the Twins Community Fund as well as local corporate sponsors, and the work, Yakesh told the board, in nearly complete. “Maybe a weekend’s worth,” he added.

This is good, because the big opening event for the field is scheduled for Saturday, May 11. Representatives of the Twins organization, perhaps namesake Jim Thome, will be on hand to celebrate this historic city event. And, some ball will be played. Yakesh said there will be about for or five games/scrimmages so that the kids can get out on the field.

A PA system will be installed, and future improvements include a scoreboard, wind fence and flagpoles with lighting.

Yakesh said Thome was instrumental in the success of the grant application, and thanked all who contributed with sponsorships and volunteer hours.



Also coming to Rockford this year, and for the first time, are community garden plots.

Darcy Desdens, Public Works, Parks, relayed to the council plans to create community gardens. This, he said, would create an opportunity for residents to have their own plots and maybe take an interest in gardening opportunities including some decorative pots and beds.

Desden said that Rebecca Mavenkamp, Rockford Area Historical Society  (RAHS) Director was very involved with the project and has contributed a lot of time and planning. He added that several surrounding communities have public gardens.

The council gave the project 4-0 support.



Rockford Public Works Supervisor, Dennis Peterson, told the council that an area on Bridge St. between Main and Maple Streets was difficult to plow due to parking. The street is 28 feet across, and when there is parking on both sides, there had been at least one instance when a plow was unable to get through. Busses are also having a hard time crossing with oncoming traffic in these instances. Peterson he will bring a proposal for action to the council, and that it will likely contain “limited parking” for this section of the street.

And, in other news, Rockford City Administrator Nancy Carswell is now sitting on the Board of the Rockford-Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce as its Treasurer, Secretary.

Councilor Rick Martinson shared that the Rockford Lions biggest fundraiser, its annual Greenbacks Dinner, will be on Saturday, April 13, tickets are still available.

The next regular meeting of the Rockford City Council will be Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m. at the Rockford City Hall, 6031 Main St.