ROCKFORD (WREX) – The Rockford Park District expressed its gratitude to the community at the Riverview Ice House on Tuesday.
The ice facility off N. Madison Street has been operating for nearly 45 years. With state funding and community support, it can stay open for many years.
That’s because the park district got the money it needed for renovations and maintenance, including two ice pads, a new refrigeration system, locker room updates and more.
Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine said the total project will cost about $6 million, a price the park district could not afford on its own.
Sandine says State Senator Steve Stadelman is a park district and recreation advocate who has spearheaded initiatives in Springfield to get more for the park district. The state ends up covering $2.5 million, leaving the park district to come up with $3.5 million.
SupplyCore Inc. President Peter Provenzano donated $1 million to be used for the operating budget, which will help keep the two ice facilities running in Rockford.
It’s a stage Provenzano, Sandine and Stadelman agree to pave the way for a more prosperous city center.
“I think this sends a strong message that downtown Rockford will continue to be key to the development of the entire region and to ensuring that economic development continues throughout the region. There is nothing that makes a community more unique than a vibrant downtown, which is a place to work, live and play,” said Senator Stadelman. “That’s what makes us unique and so the fact that we’re able to continue downtown development, that’s going to keep and attract businesses and people from across the region.”
Along with Provenzano’s donation, the Park District is launching a new charitable fund named “The Provenzano Family Skating Fund” to provide a skating experience for those in need.
“But we need to do more when it comes to equity or financial disparity. The foundation that Jay spoke of of course needs funding. To that end, Heather and I would like to provide a matching pledge of $25,000 for at least least get things started,” Provenzano said.
Anyone interested in donating to the fund can do so here or text “SKATING” to 50155.
Construction is expected to begin next fall, keeping the old building but giving it a facelift for the next generation of skating communities.