Rockford Park District rewards skaters and bikers - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford Park District rewards skaters and bikers

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No matter how many times you fall over, a dedicated skater is usually willing to get back up and try again. One Rockford neighborhood has that same attitude. It's been put back on its feet with the help of a new addition.

"This has been a dream come true." -says Keith Creek Neighborhood Association President Michael Brackett.

Brackett says the Keith Creek neighborhood has had its share of troubles with crime. Three years ago the Churchill Park Skate Park was a basketball court. That brought gang and drug-related crime.

"The police have been called down here for some people who wanted to come down here and put a negative affect on what was going on." -adds Brackett.

This discouraged kids like Keyvon Taylor from spending time there.

"It was really violent. I didn't really want to hang out around here until the skate park was here because that's when everyone started to come out and become really friendly." -says Taylor, who has lived in the area for about a year.

Senior Pastor Stephen Klemp says Redeemer Lutheran Church, located right next to the park, is better off with the court gone.

"Since that time we've had no vandalism, the neighborhood attitude has changed, the usage of the park has totally changed. People are using the park, they're not afraid to come to the park, and we see people of all different ages doing all different activities here in the park." -says Klemp.

40 volunteers added to the skate park Saturday morning. Ramps, decks, and rails were all assembled and painted. Area resident and skateboarder Eric Neubauer designed the new renovations, and Rockford Park District supplied the wood and building materials. 12-year-old Dontrell Johnson could hardly wait for Saturday morning to come.

"I woke up, and I came down here and started to paint. I could barely go to sleep though. It was exciting." -boasts Johnson.

After the work was over, The Sandwich Factory provided food, hot chocolate, and coffee at no cost. Rockford Park District Maintenance Specialist Tracy White thinks the renovations will enrich the lives of kids in the area, no matter what wheels they're spinning.

"With all the different situations going on, there's a lot of parents who don't have time, or they're not there so this is a perfect sport for kids. They can come out, do it on their own, express some creativity, and get some self-esteem out of it." -says White.

The Churchill Park Skate Park is sponsored by Keith Creek Neighborhood Association, Redeemer Lutheran Church, and the Rockford Park District.

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