Rockford passes resolution supporting Rock River Trail Initiative

Rockford passes resolution supporting Rock River Trail Initiative

Rockford City Council passed a resolution of support for the Rock River Trail Initiative (RRTI) at its Nov. 21 meeting at the request of the trail’s founder, The Rock River Times’ Editor & Publisher Frank Schier.

City Administrator Jim Ryan facilitated the resolution, which was brought to the floor by Ald. Doug Mark (R-3). It passed by a unanimous vote, 10-0, with four absent.

“In the appropriate spirit of true Thanksgiving, I’d like to thank Jim, Doug, the entire council and the mayor. This letter will be used on several levels to garner further support for the trail and our region’s environment,” said Schier.

Schier added: “This letter reflects similar resolutions of support by the following cities, counties and organizations in Wisconsin and Illinois that enjoy and extol the potentials of the Rock River: City of Jefferson, City of Waupun, Dodge County, Fort Atkinson, Friends of Dodge County Parks, Horicon Marsh, Hustisford, Illinois Renewable Energy Association, Jefferson County, Kekoskee, Lake Sinissippi, Chad Pregracke’s Living Land Waters, Lt. Gov. of Illinois Sheila Simon and the Mississippi River Coordinating Council, Ogle County, Oregon Park District, Rock County, Rockford Park District, Rock River Coalition, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Stephen Russell, Village of Hustisford, Village of Theresa, Visit Beloit, Watertown, Waupun Area Recreation Program, Winnebago County.”

Schier was very happy to say, “Trail Coordinator Greg Farnham has garnered the majority of these letters of support, and some I don’t have access to at deadline. He has made so many presentations in Wisconsin; his effort is amazing. I am so very, very thankful for his hard work, talent and finesse. Greg has been a real gift, and we would not be as far along as we are without him.

“Dave Druen from Sterling/Rock Falls is helping us, too. Through his efforts, we will be making a presentation to Sterling/Rock Falls area stakeholders and officials very soon.”

Schier also announced the RRTI Council had been formed, and held its first meeting at the offices of Visit Beloit Nov. 4. Those council members are as follows:

• Dick Flynn, director of Public Works, City of Waupun, Wis.

• Bill Ehlenbeck, Parks manager, Dodge County Land Resources and Parks Department, Fond du Lac, Wis.

• Greg Farnham, commissioner, Lake Sinissippi Improvement District, RRTI Trail Coordinator, Juneau, Wis.

• Joe Nehmer, director, Parks Department, Jefferson County, Jefferson, Wis.

• Paul Benjamin, director, Rock River Coalition, Janesville, Wis.

• David Schreiber, principal, Schreiber/Anderson Associates, Madison, Wis.

• Joleen Stinson, community coordinator, Rock County Parks Division, Janesville, Wis.

• Sheila De Forest, City Councilor, City of Beloit, Wis.

• Frank Schier, editor and publisher, The Rock River Times, RRTI Founder, Rockford, Ill.

• Webbs Norman, executive director emeritus, official historian, Rockford Park District, Ill.

• Tom Lindblade, president, Illinois Paddling Council, Rockford, Ill.

• Erin Folk, superintendent of Recreation, Oregon Park District, Ill.

• Drs. Robert and Sonia Vogl, Friends of the Rock River, Illinois Renewable Energy Association, Oregon, Ill.

• Debbie Thompson, board member, The Next Picture Show Gallery, artist and canoeist, Dixon, Ill.

• Dave Druen, Rock Falls Canal Trail Blazer Volunteers, RRTI Trail coordinator, Sterling, Ill.

• Dorothy and Carles Brown, Natural Area Guardians, Geneseo, Ill.

• Chad Pregracke, founder and president, Living Lands & Waters, East Moline, Ill.

Several more board members may be added in the near future, particularly from the Quad Cities area.

RRTI has many advisers that have agreed to consult on various issues, and they will be announced soon as well.

The following is the resolution passed by the city council Monday night:




Authorizing City of Rockford support for the Rock River Trail Initiative

WHEREAS, the Rock River is recognized as a major natural resource corridor with potential for recreation, scenic and historic trails; and

WHEREAS, President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative of 2010 is designed to reconnect Americans, especially children, to America’s rivers and waterways and parks and landscapes; and

WHEREAS, the City of Rockford has an outstanding parks system and is engaged in development of corridor revitalization, riverwalks and development of diverse recreational opportunities along the Rock River to serve the needs of residents and visitors alike; and

WHEREAS, the Rockford Park District has boat launch points, canoe/kayak landings, fishing sites and beautiful parks along the Rock River for recreational use and enjoyment by residents and visitors and is engaged in maintenance and upgrade of existing parks and recreational facilities; and

WHEREAS, the City of Rockford Economic Development Division encourages and supports efforts to enhance economic development along the riverfront and revitalization of river communities; and

WHEREAS, the Rockford Historic Preservation Commission provides guidance and resources to preserve structures and neighborhoods of significance; and

WHEREAS, the mission of the Rock River Trail Initiative is to establish and interpret a Rock River Water Trail along the 300-mile river course from the headwaters in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, to the Mississippi River at Rock Island, Illinois, and a separate Rock River Route on roads within the river corridor to provide access for all to the natural resources, recreational opportunities, scenic beauty and historic and cultural assets of the Rock River Valley; and

WHEREAS, the objectives of the Rock River Trail Initiative include promoting ecotourism and recreational opportunities throughout the river corridor, enhance community recognition of the unique assets of the Rock River and support economic development and revitalization of river communities.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the City Council of the City of Rockford, Illinois that it herein endorses and supports the Rock River Trail Initiative.

Adopted this day of November 21, 2011.

By: Mayor Lawrence J. Morrissey

ATTEST: Patrick Hayes, Legal Director

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