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Stateline Athletics Get Good News For Parks

Stateline Athletics Get Good News For Parks

The Winnebago County Board turned its attention north Friday and presented $200,000 in grants to help fund three ongoing park projects in Rockton, South Beloit and Roscoe Township.

The money provided a shot in the arm for the projects, which rely heavily on grant money and volunteer labor. The trio will feature football and soccer fields, baseball and softball diamonds and bike paths when the work is completed.

County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen said he hopes the funding provided Friday will help bolster the area’s reputation as an amateur sports destination.
The grants are funded by the county’s host fees — money it charges garbage haulers who dump in the Winnebago Landfill.

The host fees have helped fund a variety of projects in the county, including the Nicholas Conservatory in Rockford.

Roscoe Township received $100,000 to help develop a 42-acre field just south of Hononegah Road. Township officials have been trying to build the park for about 25 years. The first phase of the project will cost about $1 million, all of which has been identified, township Supervisor Renee McNitt said.

“This is certainly the largest project we’ve ever undertaken,” McNitt said. “It will provide 42 acres of sports fields and open space that will be used for generations to come.”

The township park is scheduled to open in summer 2013.

Christiansen presented $50,000 for Rockton’s ongoing athletic fields project. Rockton has also received $100,000 in state grants captured by State Sen. Dave Syverson and $50,000 captured by State. Rep. Dave Winters to develop several sports fields on a 60-acre park on the shore of the Rock River. The park has a few active ball diamonds up and running and the grant money will be used to hook the site up to water and sewer mains and irrigate the fields.

“This is the huge boost we’ve been looking for,” Rockton President Dale Adams said.

South Beloit also received $50,000 from the county to rebuild much of what was destroyed in City Park by major floods in 2008. The park was virtually underwater for three years. Until recently, South Beloit Junior High’s football field was covered in cattails and vandals have stolen much of the aluminum seating in the bleachers. The park’s gazebo has been damaged. Grass and flowers have been choked by weeds.

“My hope is that by the end of the summer that park will look like it did five years ago,” South Beloit Mayor Mike Duffy said. “I don’t know that it will happen that fast, but if our volunteers help out the way I think they will, the way they always have in the past, I think it’s achievable.”

Duffy said the city will be able to stretch the $50,000 a long way, using it mostly for materials and relying on an active volunteer community of firefighters and groups like the South Beloit Lions Club and South Beloit Businessmen’s Club to provide the labor. City officials plan to reseed the football field and fix up two softball diamonds this summer.

Syverson captured more than $250,000 in state grants for the three park projects.

“These parks will not just have an impact on quality of life issues, but will also have an economic impact on this community,” Syverson said.

This article was originally reported by the Rockford Register Star.  The article can be found at http://www.rrstar.com/news/x1160487488/County-gives-200K-to-Roscoe-Township-Rockton-S-Beloit-for-parks

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