Election Information

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Resources for Candidates:

Those interested in learning more about the Board of Commissioners role, responsibilities, and governance approach are encouraged to review the Board's Governing Policies which guide the Board in their leadership of the District. 

For more information, or to request a candidacy packet, contact Designated Board Secretary Representative Jenny Johnson at 815.987.8826 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Budget/Financial Reports

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Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance

The Rockford Park District is pleased to provide the Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance. As required by Board of Commissioners Policy, the budget is balanced and, within available resources, is aligned to achieve the District's Priority Results, maintain the District's operational fund balances, and fund the Capital Improvement Program.

If you have any questions regarding the budget, you may contact Penny Christians, Chief Financial Officer, at 815.987.8882.

Annual Reports

The Rockford Park District makes our community a great place to live, work, learn, and play! Annual reports reflect on the major results and achievements of the district during the year, so that you are well informed as to how your park and recreation system is functioning.

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

The Rockford Park District is pleased to provide Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR). The Financial Services Team of the District takes great pride in preparing the CAFR for your review. The CAFR includes the District's audited financial statements and statistical data as well as additional information on the financial health and performance of the District. For a summary of the District's financial performance, readers are encouraged to review the Management Discussion and Analysis. If you have any questions regarding the CAFR, you may contact Penny Christians, Chief Financial Officer, at 815-987-8882.

Total Compensation Package Information

The goal of the Rockford Park District’s compensation program is to assure that the Park District is maintaining a compensation and benefit program that attracts and retains capable and career-oriented employees while continuing to pay competitive wages and benefits for like work in the marketplace.

Annually District staff review salary/benefit information that is gathered from the Park District’s own market survey, the annual IPRA survey and the Employer’s Association survey which encompasses a variety of public and private sector organizations in Rockford as well as Park Districts within our region.

Pursuant to the requirements of 5 ILCS 120/7.3, we have made available in our Human Resource Department, 401 S. Main Street, Rockford, Illinois, a list of all employees having a total compensation package that exceeds $75,000 per year. For the purpose of this statute Total Compensation includes salary, health insurance, housing allowance, vehicle allowance, clothing allowance, bonuses, loans, vacation days and sick days.


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The Rockford Park District was formed in 1909 and is in its second century of service. It is the second largest park and recreation system in Illinois, and has twice been awarded the prestigious National Gold Medal for excellence in parks and recreation management, and is a Distinguished Agency, professionally accredited for high standards and superior services.


To be the best urban parks and recreation system in North America, as measured by national standards and the citizens we serve.


To help people enjoy life by providing an exceptional parks and recreation system.

2017 District Profile >

Value and Benefits for Residents

What value does a great park and recreation system bring to the Rockford community?

  • People will want to live here (attract new and retain residents)
  • Businesses want to invest and locate here (attract and retain business and industry)
  • Visitors will come and enjoy our attractions (attract tourists)
  • Property values will be enhanced (economic prosperity)
  • People will be healthier (facilitate healthy lifestyles)
  • Greater community pride is evident (volunteers, tidiness)
  • People will enjoy their lives (find personal fulfillment in their leisure pursuits)

Parks and recreation are essential services – they are not discretionary. Parks and recreation are an essential part of a healthy community.

Our community has wisely invested in having an excellent park system beginning in 1909, when five newly elected Park Commissioners secured the land that is now known as Sinnissippi Park by pledging their personal assets as collateral for the purchase.

The community again invested in 1956 when passing the tax-supported recreation fund for public programs and services. Some of these recreation activities are supported by those using them by paying fees, while others are provided free for the health, wellness, and entertainment of all citizens.

Recreation is vital to people’s health and well-being, and plays an important role in a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

You may use the golf courses, the ice rinks, or have a child enrolled in summer camps or swim lessons. Perhaps you stroll through the rose garden, use a recreation path for exercise, or sit quietly on a park bench beside the Rock River. You might visit our museums, volunteer as a coach, or attend summer concerts in the park.

It’s possible you don’t personally use any Park District services, but you are still benefiting from having a strong park and recreation system in your community for the benefits mentioned above and these others:

  • Park and recreation services can contribute to alleviating deviant behavior among youth (we provide positive outlets for their energy and offer structure for good use of their leisure time)
  • Preserve culture and history (through the museums, Camp Grant at Atwood Park, Beattie Park’s mysterious mounds)
  • Provide natural habitat for wildlife and plants to thrive (trees reduce pollution and produce oxygen, something we all need in order to live!)

The Rockford Park District helps people enjoy life by providing an excellent park and recreation system that contributes to the health, wellness, and entertainment of its citizens.

Economic Prosperity

As we look forward to creating our shared future, what kind of people do we want to attract to live and work here? Rebecca Ryan of Next Generation Consulting said, “Rockford’s best days are to come – teeming with young professionals, their families, and the energy and vibrancy they bring to a community.” She believes the Park District plays a critical role in that effort.

Young families are finding our area housing is very affordable and the amenities very pleasant. There are many new developments attracting active retirees to live and play in our community. Rockford’s parks and recreation amenities are often cited as major reasons for locating here.

The Rockford Area Economic Development Council, Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce, and area realtors report that the District’s parks, recreation paths, gardens and facilities are a major “draw” for recruiting new businesses and residents.

Citizen Survey

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The Citizen Survey asks citizens about resource, program, and service priorities, to guide the Rockford Park District's strategic planning efforts for the following 2-3 years.

The survey, which began in 1999, is composed of questions linked to the Park Board's strategic Priorities. The survey is made available to the public by mail, online, and at Park District facilities and outreach events. Survey results and financial forecast, combined with leisure trends and area demographic data, provide us with valuable information to help guide our planning, budget allocation, and service priorities. 

The most recent survey concluded June 27, 2015Click here to view the summary results of the survey.

Until the next Citizen Survey, feedback, questions, and suggestions may be submitted through the Citizen Communication System >

Board Policies

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Policies and Priorities

Code of Ordinances > This document serves as a culminating record of the laws, ordinances, and regulations instituted by the Board of Commissioners that govern the use, policing of, and conduct within parks and facilities.

Clean Air Ordinance Q&A > TheClean Air Ordinance prohibits smoking entirely at Park District facilities, parks, museums, and any Park District property with the exception of public golf courses where adult smoking is permitted beyond 50 feet of enclosed/partially-enclosed spaces on golf course playing fields in the company of consenting adults and absent assembly by the general public.

Governing Policies Manual > These policies establish the Board's Priority Results to be achieved by the organization, the parameters in which the organization will operate, delegates certain responsibilities to the CEO, and name the governance processes by which the Board chooses to hold itself accountable.

2017 Strategic Plan >  This plan links the direction provided by the Priority Results to the allocation of resources, interpreting direction to staff, and providing clear, measurable achievements that will serve as evidence of organizational success.

2018 Strategic Plan >  This plan links the direction provided by the Priority Results to the allocation of resources, interpreting direction to staff, and providing clear, measurable achievements that will serve as evidence of organizational success.


For the Rockford Park District to be the best urban park and recreation system in North America, as measured by national standards and the citizens we serve.


To 'help people enjoy life' by providing a quality park and recreation system.

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