The Keye-Mallquist Park, 1702 11th St., Rockford, has substantial improvements made in recent months.

Area youth, teens, and families have a variety of new ways to recreate and spend quality time together, thanks to a major renovation of Keye-Mallquist Park, 1702 11th St., Rockford.

Investing $683,000 to remodel Keye-Mallquist Park was possible thanks to funding from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, The Blazer Foundation, area businesses, and other donors.

The Park District was awarded $275,000 from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant and utilized $275,000 out of its capital funds to fulfill the required grant match.

In addition, The Blazer Foundation, a local foundation committed to improving the lives of individuals with disabilities, provided $100,000 for universal surfacing for the play area.

The Rockford Park District Foundation worked closely with neighbors and businesses around Keye-Mallquist to raise an additional $33,000. In 2019, the District gathered feedback from residents about which recreational features they wanted to remain and what new amenities should be added.

Last summer, the Rockford Park District invited residents around the park and youth who utilize the District’s free Time 2Play summer playground program to help select a specific playground concept. 

Keye-Mallquist Park Reinvestment Project includes:

ïNew playground for ages 2-12 with new universal playground surfacing

ïNew outdoor fitness areafor ages 13 and up

ïNew multi-use sports field 

ïNew multi-use game court for hopscotch and foursquare

ïNew permanent cornhole board

ïNew picnic area

ïNew fencing along 11th Street and 17th Avenue

ïNew accessible pathway connections (more) 

ïRenovated shelter with remodeled bathrooms and storage along with new drinking fountains including one for dogs

ïRenovated existing restrooms and storage building for summer program

ïRenovated multi-use open sports field and added new goal posts

ïRenovated existing basketball courts–full court and two half courts

ïRenovated ball field with new backstop fence “Thanks to a variety of financial collaborations and community input this popular southeast neighborhood park now has amenities and features that no other park has in the area.

Not only did this park renovation enhance the experience for youth, teens, and families but property values increase when a home is within 500 feet of a well-maintained park. Neighborhood parks are critical to the health and well-being of our community and investing in neighborhood parks is a top priority for the Park District as stated by the citizens we serve,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine.

Historical facts about Keye-Mallquist Park:

ïPark is 6.08 acres

ïPark was originally called Southeast Park, but was renamed after Francis S. Keye and Allan C. Mallquist who donated 24 acres of land to the Rockford Park District

ïOriginal shelter at park was designed by famous architect Jessie Barloga in the 1920s.

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