Park district breaks ground on recreation center

Members of the Rochelle community had a chance to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the start of construction on the Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District's $14 million recreation center. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

$14 million project scheduled for Labor Day 2020 completion

ROCHELLE — Wednesday marked the beginning of a new era for the Hub City, as members of the Rochelle community gathered at Helms South to celebrate the start of construction on the $14 million park district recreation center with a special groundbreaking ceremony.

“This was a very important project for the chamber and we’re very proud of the park district for its hard work on bringing such a great project to Rochelle,” said Tricia Herrera, president of the Rochelle Chamber of Commerce, who was the first to speak at the ceremony.

Representatives from several groups involved in the project took part in the groundbreaking ceremony including the Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District Board of Commissioners and Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows, who was one of four people to speak during Wednesday’s ceremony. Township residents voted in favor of funding the community center back in April.

“As a lifelong resident, I can remember hearing about projects like this for years, and I applaud the board of commissioners because they put the project before the people and they decided to get behind the project,” Bearrows said. “This is an incredible project and we’re looking forward to its completion… The city is behind this 100 percent.”

Construction vehicles lined the Helms South parking lot as board members and representatives from Ringland-Johnson Construction, Fehr Graham and Tyson & Billy Architects took turns handling the gold shovels living the front of the construction site. Work will take roughly 12 months to complete, with Labor Day 2020 currently scheduled as the completion date.

“This project is built for our future,” said Jackee Ohlinger, park district executive director. “The facility is designed for open space and flexibility for a variety of activities… I want to thank the board and our park district staff for their dedication to this project. Rochelle deserves this project and we want to thank the community.”

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