Harmon Park Project

April 11, 2016

Great Feedback Received on the Harmon Park Improvements Project

In February and March, 2016 the Rockford Park District distributed a proposed design plan and comment card to more than 3,000 residents near Harmon Park seeking their feedback on planned improvements to Harmon Park. We understand that the delivery of the survey was delayed slightly, thus the survey deadline was extended. As of March 18 more than 360 surveys were returned with a wide range of comments and feedback.

In response to a number of comments we would like offer some additional clarification and responses with the hope that we can address residents’ questions and concerns.

The City of Rockford will start construction on the detention basin the week of April 11. The basin, and the grading required to create it, requires tree removal on the west side of the park – along Eastgate Parkway. The City and Park District are sensitive to the loss of the trees, but also understand the benefit that the basin will provide to the neighborhood. City and Park District staff is exploring ways to memorialize the trees that will be removed. New trees will be planted as a part of this project. The detention basin will only hold water during and shortly after a rainfall event. The detention basin will not have standing water long enough to support mosquito breeding. Mosquitoes require 7-10 days in calm, standing water to breed. Approximately 25% of the detention basin will be planted with native plants, with the rest of the basin mowed turf grass. Native plants have numerous benefits including: improving storm water quality, requiring less maintenance, and providing habitat for essential wildlife and pollinating insects.

The Harmon Park improvements will include a new playground (with equipment for 2-5 year olds and 5-12 year olds), spray pad, picnic shelter, drinking fountain, and basketball court. Playground Option 3 was the preferred equipment option, along with the Musical Panel, Standing See Saw, and Merry Go Round. This equipment will be included in the new playground.

Final playground equipment selections:

Playground Option3

Standing See Saw

Music Panel

Merry Go Round

The additional amenities listed above were selected based on Park District program staff input and because they are current amenities within the park. A number of additional amenities were requested in the survey; however, due to spatial limitations and standard Park District practices, they are not included in the plans. Tennis courts, skate parks, volleyball courts, baseball fields, and a full court basketball court are not included due to limited space. Walking paths, lighting, large scale splash pads, ice skating areas, dog parks, and restrooms are not included because they are not typical neighborhood park amenities. Budgetary limitations won’t allow for a poured in place rubber playground surfacing – similar to that at Alpine Park.

There were a number of requests that the Park District will consider adding: tricycle parking area, striping and signage, a bike rack, a grill, and a dog bowl on drinking fountain. These additions will be added as funding permits.

A number of comments focused on fencing. The current playground is surrounded by fencing. While it does have benefits (e.g. preventing little kids from running away from guardians), this is not typical Park District practice and can have detriments (e.g. entrapment). New fencing is proposed in the new park design, but it will have open ends. It will be placed parallel to Idaho Parkway and parallel to the new detention area. The new fence will limit users from running from the playground into the street or the detention basin.

We also have received a number of comments regarding park safety, and traffic concerns. The Park District strives to have safe and secure parks and facilities. We have shared the safety concerns with Park District police, and the traffic concerns with the City of Rockford.

A few miscellaneous comments were also received, including:

- Concerns over park maintenance (trash pick-up, and more picnic tables) have been expressed to park staff.
- Patrons with dogs are required to keep their dogs on a leash and to clean up after them.
- These improvements will not result in an increase in taxes.
- Ash tree removals are planned for Sandy Hollow Golf Course. The removals will be completed with a multi-year commitment.
- Rockford Park District volunteer opportunities are available. More information is available on our website >

The City of Rockford and the Rockford Park District is extremely grateful to everyone who responded and provided feedback. The number of comments and feedback show that Harmon Park is very important to area residents. A summary of the survey results is attached here.

You can stay up to date with the project by visiting http://rockfordparkdistrict.org/harmonpark 

If you have any questions or comments please contact Tom Lind, Park District Landscape Architect at 815-987-1649 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Vision

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.

Mission

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

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