Greenfield dedicates memorial during ‘Night to Unite,’ Rockford’s festivities cut short by storm

The Freedom Riders Motorcycle Organization participates in a flag raising ceremony at the Greenfield Central Park Memorial. The family of Lance Cpl. Robert Greniger receives a flag in honor of his service. Greniger, a Rockford High School graduate, served as a combat engineer assigned to the Second Combat Engineer Battalion, Second Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force in Helmand Province where he died two years ago.

The Freedom Riders Motorcycle Organization participates in a flag raising ceremony at the Greenfield Central Park Memorial. The family of Lance Cpl. Robert Greniger receives a flag in honor of his service. Greniger, a Rockford High School graduate, served as a combat engineer assigned to the Second Combat Engineer Battalion, Second Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force in Helmand Province where he died two years ago.

Over the years, annual citywide celebrations in Greenfield and Rockford on the second Tuesday in August have become tradition. They coincide with the national community and neighborhood get-togethers known as National Night Out and Night to Unite. Residents are encouraged to come out and meet their neighbors, law enforcement and public safety providers and city officials. Aug. 6 was no exception, and both cities were prepared for the masses with food, fun, department representatives, big trucks, horses and more. Mother Nature, however, was in a mood. She was considerate enough, however, to let a few things happen as planned before crashing the parties.

In Greenfield, there’s been a lot of talk lately about Greenfield Central Park. This is the city’s first city-owned park, and it’s come a long way over the last couple of years. Where there once was a field, there is now a picnic area with a shelter, some basic landscaping, and a memorial site, which was dedicated with a touching ceremony that included participation by the American Legion Color Guard and the Freedom Riders and family members of a fallen marine from Greenfield. The event started out with a welcome from Greenfield Mayor Brad Johnson, and with sunshine that lasted until shortly after this part of the evening was over.

Considering that bad weather was on the horizon, a number of folks chanced it and crowded around the ceremony. Greenfield staff and officials, including the Park Advisory, were enthusiastic about getting residents to the site so that they could see what’s been accomplished and get a feel for a place they can start frequenting.  Plans for playground equipment are in the works and grants have been obtained by staff to cover the cost of a casual play ball field. This is also the proposed site of a future city hall/municipal building, a project that currently has no timeline.

Greenfield Mayor Brad Johnson welcomes area residents to the city’s new monument at Greenfield Central Park as members of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department Mounted Patrol look on. The monument recognizes US Service Members as well as members of police, sheriff, fire and other departments that serve and protect. (Photo by Kathryne McCullum)

Greenfield Mayor Brad Johnson welcomes area residents to the city’s new monument at Greenfield Central Park as members of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department Mounted Patrol look on. The monument recognizes US Service Members as well as members of police, sheriff, fire and other departments that serve and protect. (Photo by Kathryne McCullum)

So, this attempt at showcasing the city’s first park with its newest amenities was a success. Parking for Greenfield City Park is conveniently located off Town Hall Drive near the intersection of County Rd. 50. The park is in a quiet, pastoral part of the city, perfect for picnics and afternoon get-togethers.

In Rockford, much fun as being had in Riverside Park until the weather got nasty. The city did have an amazing run of sun over Rockford River Days, though, and that should be the case for Movie in the Park on Friday, August 23, and Volley for Charity (sand volley ball) on Saturday, Aug. 24. Check the city’s web site at www.cityofrockford.com for time and details on these events.

Two cities, two parks, and several more weeks of warm weather; the forecast is looking…fantastic.

Dark skies perch menacingly over Greenfield Central Park during the city’s annual Night to Unite celebration, but the rain holds for the memorial dedication, which was well attended. (Photo by Kathryne McCullum)

Dark skies perch menacingly over Greenfield Central Park during the city’s annual Night to Unite celebration, but the rain holds for the memorial dedication, which was well attended. (Photo by Kathryne McCullum)

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