Park board: Boat races may return to Lake Sule

Kickball event approved for second year

Jeff Helfrich
Posted 2/24/22

At its monthly meeting Tuesday, the Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District Board of Commissioners heard a proposal on boat racing returning to Lake Sule this summer or next summer.

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Park board: Boat races may return to Lake Sule

Kickball event approved for second year


ROCHELLE — At its monthly meeting Tuesday, the Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District Board of Commissioners heard a proposal on boat racing returning to Lake Sule this summer or next summer. 

It has been 10 years since boat racing was held at the lake. Holden and Michael Mackey of Marine Racing Club attended the meeting and answered questions and the board resolved to research and discuss it and vote on it next month or at a future meeting. 

The race would come at no cost to the park district and the races would last over a weekend. The racing club is insured and brings safety equipment and would rent local on-site paramedics.

“Everyone out there is experienced and it's family-oriented,” Holden said. “The course is an oval and has two turns and a start finish line. It's three laps with a timed start. We have 70-100 members in our club. We'd expect 30-50 trailers at an event like this. Some trailers have four boats.”

The racing club travels throughout the midwest. Races stopped happening in Rochelle due to a dispute with a past board member, Michael said. 

“Frankly we stopped doing it in Rochelle because there was a board member who was not very happy with an incident that happened when he came down to the races and it set off some animosity and we were asked not to come back,” Michael said. “We're a different club than the one that previously sanctioned races here.”

Lake Sule has a 10-horsepower limit for engines. The smallest of engines in the races would be 15 horsepower. The board would have to approve the races to go over that limit. The club did not ask for a liquor permit for a hypothetical race weekend and said it doesn’t draw a lot of spectators.


The board unanimously approved allowing alcoholic beverages for the second annual Kicking for a Cause event at VFW Park on May 14. 

The event is put on by the park district and the Rochelle Chamber of Commerce. Profits go to benefit the park district’s ENGAGE program for those that need assistance with memberships and the chamber’s scholarship program. 

Superintendent of Recreation & Fitness TC Hager said the chamber would organize and manage the beverage garden and park district staff would handle the kickball tournament. 

“I think this year we can go from eight to 12 teams and use all four fields,” Hager said. “We've considered adding some additional security staff or an off-duty officer to help ensure safety. Last year there were no issues, but there may be more people this year.”

Rotary event

Executive Director Jackee Ohlinger said during the meeting that the Rochelle Rotary Club is looking to have another event at Atwood Park this summer on June 11 with live music, food, vendors and a car show. 

“Everyone will be insured, and they are requesting alcohol which they did last year as well,” Ohlinger said. “It would be roped off like last year. They're going to request closing 10th Avenue. I don't think there were any major issues last year.”

The board asked Ohlinger to look into drawing up a liquor permit for this event and others due to more events requesting liquor allowance. Other park districts have liquor permits and require a deposit and fee to help with cleanup. Ohlinger said she’d provide a recommendation at next month’s meeting on the Rotary event.

Director comments

During her director comments portion of the meeting, Ohlinger provided updates on a number of projects. 

The delivery of materials has occurred for the Helms Stadium roof project, which she said will be completed in the next couple of months ahead of summer. Ohlinger also said the park district has received four bids for its Spring Lake decking project ranging from $75,000 to $163,000.

“I'm reviewing that with our capital committee and we'll sit down and look at those and secondary options to provide recommendations for the next board meeting,” Ohlinger said.

The park district’s legal team has been working through its recent sale of its 735 N. 2nd St. property to C&C Plumbing for $170,000. 

The property includes the park district’s former office and storage building that were vacated by a move to the newly-constructed REC Center. 

The sale should be finalized by the end of the month, Ohlinger said. She also added that she’s been looking at some different storage options to invest in at Tilton Park for equipment. 

Finally, Ohlinger provided an update on membership at The REC and swimming programming. 

“My monthly report shows a continued increase in memberships every month,” Ohlinger said. “That hasn't failed us yet. We continue to reach maximum numbers for participants in all swim programming and get rave reviews on all of the classes and we're really happy about what we can offer. We're still looking to offer more things.”

Museum lease

The board unanimously approved a lease with the Flagg Township Museum. Ohlinger said the lease is agreed to yearly and it has not changed from years past, with the exception of now being a three-year term and the museum’s fees being contingent on what the park district levies for each year.

Audit bids

The board unanimously approved a three-year contract with Lauterbach & Amen, LLC to audit the park district for the next three years for $23,600. That bid was the lowest. In 2018 when the board approved its last auditing contract with another firm, it cost $26,000 for three years.

Zero turn

The board unanimously approved the purchase of a new 60-inch Exmark zero-turn mower for a total expense of $7,983. The park district utilizes a replacement plan for its mowers and will be trading one in for this purchase at a value of $6,000.