Roscoe Township approves Community Center design

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Saavedra Group Architects drawing. Roscoe Township Community Center, view from the northeast.

At its meeting Wednesday, Roscoe Township trustees approved final drawings for the Roscoe Township Community Center at Founders Park. The park will be built on the corner of Hononegah Road and Frances Lane, paid for by existing funds and a $704,000 grant through the Park and Recreational Facility Construction Act (PARC) grant program under the Illinois DNR.

The park site includes the home of Robert Cross, the first permanent settler in Roscoe in 1835. The Roscoe Township Historical Society is raising the funds to restore the home, and has leased the home and surrounding yard from Roscoe Township.

The vote on drawings of the community center's floor plan and exterior elevation followed a meeting with Winnebago County Engineer Carlos Molina and Village of Roscoe Administrator Scott Sanders. That meeting also included engineer Nicholas Becker from R. K. Johnson & Associates as well as Daniel Saavedra, the principal of Saavedra Group Architects, and his associate Cherise Meadows. Saavedra is a longtime Roscoe resident, as is recently retired partner Guy Gehlhausen. The park site has been annexed into the Village of Roscoe.

Molina approved of a new entrance to the park from Hononegah Road and a private entrance from Prairie Rose Drive. Sanders, who chairs the Village's Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), expressed his support for keeping the existing, separate driveway to the Cross house and its garage. The Roscoe ZBA is responsible for making recommendations to the Village of Roscoe Board of Trustees, who would have to give final approval for any building and tree-removal plans. Sanders also agreed that the west side of the parking lot didn't need a curb, and that would make it easier to expand it later.

A tentative drawing of the park by Saavedra Group Architects is posted at the Township offices. Besides the Community Center, a parking lot, and the restored Robert J. Cross Home, the park could include an open pavilion and stage, a restored barn with an indoor antique farm equipment display, an outdoor summer concert events space (Ravinia style), an outdoor food vendor area for events, a regional artists sculpture garden in collaboration with the Rockford Art Museum, bike and walking path, a farmer's market, a community garden, and a native prairie restoration area.

In other reports, Township Supervisor Bob Nowicki said the Township's bank balance is $2,909,680. The trustees approved the payment of bills from the General Town Fund of $32,933, General Road Fund of $123,183 and Cemetery Fund of $10,277. There is at least one vacancy on the Cemetery Committee. Attorney Tom Green, a partner with Barrick, Switzer, Long, Balsley & Van Evera, LLP, advises the Township on legal matters and serves as parliamentarian at board meetings.

Trustee Chuck Gilbert welcomed Rhonda Hanson, who was recently hired to take over the main office duties for the Township. She is being trained by
Mary Ryan, who has moved to part-time. The job requires both accounting and customer service skills. Rhonda, who currently works 30 hours a week, is expected to replace Mary in a few years. Mary, on the other hand, eventually wants to help get programming and activities going at the community center.

Click on the drawing below to view the gallery of images.

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