Rockford Riverside Park gets new playground structures

The playground at Riverside Park in Rockford is expected to look like this in September after installation of new equipment purchased from Landscape Structures, of Delano. (Drawing courtesy of Landscape Structures).

The Rockford City Council, Tuesday, Aug. 12, learned that the long awaited installation of new playground equipment at Riverside Park is about to happen.

City Administrator Dan Madsen told the council that the old playground equipment would be removed from the park between Aug. 17 and Aug. 21. He expected the new playground to be up and ready for use in September.

At the meeting, the City Council also took up other business. Here are meeting highlights.



Madsen said the Rockford Lions had volunteered to install the new playground equipment at Riverside Park. Then the COVID-19 pandemic swept into the area. He could not see any way for a bunch of volunteers to do the work while keeping the necessary social distance from each other. He and city councilors thanked the Lions for wanting to help.

Instead, crews from Rockford Public Works and the contractor, Landscape Structures of Delano, will install the new playground structures.

Back in November, the City Council voted to purchase $104,570 worth of playground equipment from Landscape Structures for installation in Riverside Park in August 2020. The purchase came only after Rockford had remedied a shortage of funds for the purchase.

In March 2019, the City Council reviewed plans for playground equipment in Riverside Park and noticed an $8,000 gap between the purchase price and the amount of available funds. The Hanover Athletic Association, Rockford Lions and Rockford Area Athletic Association chipped in money to fill the gap. The donations enabled the city to add monkey bars to the equipment array.

At the Nov. 26 meeting, Darcy Desens, lead for city parks maintenance, said Rockford could pay 80% of the purchase price then and avoid price increases for 2020. The equipment would be delivered in 2020, with the remaining 20% due upon delivery. City Administrator Madsen expressed thanks for the donations that helped make the project possible. He was glad the city could add monkey bars to the playground design. He added that, for the most part, the city funded the project.

Rockford got some price breaks. Landscape Structures gave the city a $1,065 discount for the overhead monkey bars and a state contract discount of $9,094 (8% of the purchase price).



Turning to the subject of city finances, the City Council accepted $320,744 in funding available under the federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for Local Government Activities).

Madsen said Rockford is keeping track of its pandemic related expenses incurred between March 1 and Nov. 15. The city can use CARES Act funds until Nov. 15.



Turning to the topic of city wells, the City Council approved an amount not to exceed $41,003.99 for the rehabilitation of city well number 5 by Thein Well.

Brent Mickolichek, of Rockford Public Works, said the city inspects the performance of all of its wells every year to identify any potential problems. Last year Thein Well noted that well number five’s pumping capacity had decreased significantly and a complete well rehab is needed for the well to regain its pumping efficiency.

Public Works got three quotes from prospective contractors. Mickolichek recommended that the city accept Thein’s quote of $17,400 for well rehab and up to $23,603 in replacement materials if needed. He expected that work would take place in September.

He said the contractor would pull the pump from the well, take it back to the shop and refurbish it. While the pump is in the shop, Thein would use a jet to force water through the screen at the end of the well pipe to free it from rust and debris. It would take 30 hours to clear obstructions from the 30-foot screen. Crews would shoot video of the well casing and screen to identify bad areas.

Mickolichek said Rockford drilled well number five in 1981. The city has five wells, two of which are used in emergencies. The water department uses one well at a time, trading off among wells five, six and seven. Well number seven is starting to experience problems. With the rehab of well number five, the city will have two wells that it doesn’t have to worry about.


The City Council also:

APPROVED a request from Kwik Trip for an off-sale 3.2 liquor license for its store at 8090 County Road 50.

Kwik Trip expects to open this new store in late September

SCHEDULED Rockford’s Truth in Taxation meeting for 6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 8, in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The city’s proposed 2021 General Fund budget and property tax levy will be discussed.

APPROVED a request from the Rockford Area History Society to hold its annual quilt raffle starting in August and running through Dec. 5.

RAHS will hold the drawing for the quilt on Saturday, Dec. 5, during Crow River Christmas. The drawing will take place whether or not Crow River Christmas is held this year.

HEARD a report from Finance Director Jennifer Swendsen about the state of Rockford’s second quarter finances.

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